What's in a Word | All Blogs

Taking a turn or two for the better

By Debra Dobbins

"Versatility” is the noun form of the adjective “versatile.”

We generally think of versatility as the ability of a person to easily go from one skill to another or a thing to have many uses or applications. (Let’s face it: Smart phones these days are pretty darn versatile when one considers they also serve as cameras, hand-held computers, music players, Day Runners, alarm clocks, etc.)

Zoologists use the term to describe something “capable of turning forward or backward,” such as a bird’s toe, according to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary. Botanists use the term to describe “turning about freely on the filament to which is attached, as an anther,” according to my trusty desktop Webster’s.

“Versatile” came into English about 1600, the Online Etymology Dictionary notes. It came from the “Latin versatilis - turning, revolving, moving, capable of turning to varied subjects or tasks," from past participle stem of versare ‘keep turning, be engaged in something, turn over in the mind.’"

Illustration special to the Sentinel

I will never forget the pleasure and instruction I derived from working with a true master of his art, such as Edward G. Robinson was - and is. Surely his record for versatility, studied characterization - ranging from modern colloquial to the classics - and artistic integrity is unsurpassed.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Edward G. Robinson in 1930s publicity photo
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia



Please Login or Register to leave a comment.

Recent Posts
Planting in October
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A few penny pinching recipes
By Julie Norman
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Did you know…
By Julie Norman
Thursday, October 1, 2015

September harvest is great
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The fun of foraging
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, September 29, 2015


734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
Advertiser Tearsheet

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy