Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We Gather Together

During a prior phase of my life I was considered gregarious – I loved a crowd and wanted to be in the middle of it.  These days, I’m virtually agoraphobic – I don’t like crowds and I’m most comfortable when I’m alone or with just a few people.  In fact, about the largest group of people I’m usually around is my church, SouthWoods, which is pastored by a great guy and my friend, Greg.

Oops, it appears I did it again (again).  Gregarious, agoraphobic, and even Greg all flow out of a IE Root ger-1 meaning “to gather”.  (I believe the gr in group comes from this root.)  One of the first words I learned in Latin was grex – a herd of sheep.  Gregory (sounds oddly like gregarious) means “watcher”… of the grex – a shepherd.

I just finished a funny little book on the first chili cook off in Terlingua, Texas (H. Allen Smith’s The Great Chili Confrontation).  Smith is a great writer, duh!, and uses some seldom-seen words.  One in particular caught my eye – panegyric.  I’ve seen it before, but want to make sure I understood it’s meaning clearly.  You would call the long speech introducing a political candidate a panegyric.  It is a eulogy (a good word) or praise of a person made publicly – in front of a group of people, a crowd, a herd of people.  So when I called Greg “a great guy” in a public internet post, that was a panegyric – and I meant it!

No comments:

Post a Comment