Expat In Bacolod

Stephen Bentley - Writer

Vicissitude: Word Wednesday (Improve Your Word Power)

Vicissitude … go on say it out loud! It sounds good right? But what does it mean?

The usual go-to Merriam-Webster says this:

vicissitude
noun vi·cis·si·tude \və-ˈsi-sə-ˌtüd, vī-, -ˌtyüd\
Popularity: Top 10% of words

Top 10% of words? Really? I wonder how they work that out?

Definition 
1
a : the quality or state of being changeable : mutability
b : natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
2
a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition <the vicissitudes of daily life>
b : a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control
c : alternating change : succession

Did You Know?

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better,” wrote British theologian Richard Hooker in the 16th century. That observation may shed some light on vicissitude, a word that can refer simply to the fact of change, or to an instance of it, but that often refers specifically to hardship or difficulty brought about by change. To survive “the vicissitudes of life” is thus to survive life’s ups and downs, with special emphasis on the downs. Vicissitude is a descendant of the Latin noun vicis, meaning “change” or “alternation,” and it has been a part of the English language since the 16th century. In contemporary usage, it most often occurs in the plural.

Origin and Etymology of vicissitude

Middle French, from Latin vicissitudo, from vicissim in turn, from vicis change, alternation — more at week

First Known Use: circa 1576

For a change there is a sensible and intelligent Facebook comment on the M-W page:

Jack Dervin · Computer Programmer/Analyst at United States Air Force
Washington’s First Inaugural Address
“Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month.”
Like · Reply · Nov 11, 2016 7:00am

See you next week with another word.


 

If you are starting out as a writer then I thoroughly recommend checking out ProWritingAid. It is a spell-checker, ‘grammarist’ and editor all rolled into one bundle.

It saved me a fortune. I used it to self-edit my last book so it was ready to be professionally edited. Indeed, if funds are limited it can cut out the need for a professional editor.

It’s useful too even if you don’t plan to write a book.


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