Thursday, October 16, 2008

Words


As I was reading aloud the story Millions of Cats earlier today to one of my young students, we came upon a passage in the picture book with the word "homeley" in the text. The child asked me what that word meant. When I explained that it meant the same as the word "ugly", nothing in his facial expression appeared to register the meaning of the word. So I asked him if he knew what ugly meant. He said no. I didn't define it but continued to read aloud to him.
How wonderful, huh, to not know what that means?

5 comments:

  1. It certainly is wonderful.
    But I never thought of the word homely to be a synonym for ugly. I think of it more gently than that. Maybe I just want to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, it's perhaps not the most obvious or prevalent of synonyms but it does qualify as one. I looked it up. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just responded to you on my blog but really, we are on the same page. I would have emailed but don't have your email. You can reach me at jkblue AT cox DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jood: you're the third person I've talked to in the last couple of weeks (with prop 8 looming) that questions why a civil union is not enough for same-sex couples. Or at least that's what I understood you to say. So, I was furious; I'll admit it but not personally at you. As I said, the people I talked to about this are liberals and they meant well. They simply didn't understand the differences between civil unions (particularly) and actual marriage. It doesn't affect them. So all this made me create a post for The Peace Tree on the subject.

    My apologies for hijacking your thread, which was not about marriage equality at all, with my own pet issue.

    Tight squeeze,
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pagan,

    Wow, I can't imagine not knowing that concept. Wonderful and innocent.

    During our vacation we encountered some incredible beings, some of which were genuinely ugly (a very ugly spider, in particular) and others of which were homely (a pair of mules). I've always thought of these words as on the same side of the "beauty" spectrum - but ugly seems further from the neutral center, as beautiful is further in the other direction than "cute" or "pleasant looking." The interesting thing about conversations in our family is that we have come to understand that few creatures considered ugly actually are. Or, rather, we can definitely see the point of the person who called it, and we can even agree, but we love the appearances of animals like toads, black vultures, hyenas, bats, etc. - their ugliness is a different type of beautiful. And I can see what people mean when they call a person ugly, homely, horse-faced, plain, etc. - but I find faces to be universally beautiful, as well, until people do something ugly with them. It's man made things and human actions that seem to have a genuine and unalloyed ability to be ugly. And when a person commits an ugly act, I wouldn't call it homely. I might call a clumsy act homely... Maybe that gets at some of the difference that Bobbie was thinking about in her comment. I think ugly is more extreme than homely.

    ReplyDelete

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