What's in a Word | All Blogs


Intern Olympics feature sparks stream-of-consciousness

By Debra Dobbins


You may blame (or, preferably, credit) Sunday’s puckish feature on the Sentinel’s Intern Olympics for my word choice today: garage.

The Intern Olympics made me think of the Summer Olympics, which prompted thoughts of London and its environs, which brought back all sorts of wonderful memories, which included the difference in pronunciation of simple words such as garage.

(This, for better or for worse, is how my mind works. I consider such thought-flitting simply as stream-of-consciousness, rather than adult ADD.)

British citizens pronounce the word as GARE ahj, while, we pronounce it as guh RAHJ, with the stress on the second syllable. In both variations of English, however, it means a place of protection for a vehicle or a place in which vehicles are serviced.

According to Webster’s, the word stems from the French word garer, which means to protect or preserve. Webster’s also notes that garer is linked to the Old High German word, waron, meaning to watch over. This word has the same Indo European base as warn.

Right now, my garage is protecting and preserving not only one of my cars, but also sundry items that ought to go to a church rummage sale. The thought of rummaging through everything, however, prompts thoughts of all sorts of avoidance tactics, such as having, in British terms, “a coffee.”

Hmmm … splendid idea for putting off duties at work, as well. My coffee cup is empty. Ta ta for now, and ta for indulging me in some rather random thoughts today.

Illustration special to the Sentinel

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