relinquish,eschew,abjure,dispense with

Duly Chastised!

I have a dear friend who happens to be American and she likes to remain anonymous. I received this comment from her, below, which she dared not post lest her identity be known. But I’m very glad that she responded. She’s added to the discussion on forgo/forego/forgon.

She took exception to my last post which, in one part, expressed my sometime irritation to the computer’s American Spellcheck.  She also went looking and found what I had not, this morning – a dictionary definition for forego, the way I have been using it for years. So maybe I haven’t been misguided all these years.

But I won’t apologize. It was written in good fun. I don’t know what I would do without Spellcheck, American English or not. If we didn’t have a little friendly rivalry in these things, life would not be interesting.

Here’s her reply which I hope you will enjoy:

Relinquish,eschew,abjure,dispense with

Please forego admonishing American English.  My American Heritage Dictionary defines “forgo” as to “abstain from, “forsake”. And says to refer to synonyms at relinquish.  Forgo is from  Middle English forgon, forgan.  And old English, forgan,  originally meant to pass on or pass away.
However, forego is defined as to precede or go before as in time or place, and is from middle English, forgon and old English, forgan .  That is definition No. 1.
No. 2. Forego:  variant of forgo.
So, don’t be too hard on American English.  It IS often flexible.!!!
You probably know Fargo is a proper name, but possibly has roots in middle English  as some one who had “far to go”!!!!!   Many early English names were descriptive–we had Hunt and Cook in our English roots.

Hope you have recovered from last weekend’s open house.  we certainly enjoyed it and I like the fact I can now visualize the rooms and places you mention.  Your new series (of paintings) is quite unique in your work and we immediately identified some of the subjects at the bridge site.

Glad we did not forego the pleasure of your company.
And that was the end of her comment.

It made me think of a story we tell in our family.

Napoleon was marching his army through the Low Countries – now the Netherlands and Belgium and possibly some northern parts of France. In every country that Napoleonic forces occupied in Europe, he required everyone to register and to take a last name.  And so our family did, like everyone else.

The aristocracy hardly had to create names. They were known by the place they owned and the titles they bore.  Thus, we have van Dusen, van Gogh, van der Voort. Van means from; it’s von in German. In French they start with de like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar de Gas (Degas),  the de also means from.

There were John the Elders and John the Youngs to distinguish the older families from the younger.  Bakers, Butchers, Candlestick makers, Taylors and Farriers are only a few of the professions and trades that were chosen as names. Lots chose their father’s name, giving us Will’s son (Wilson) and Johnson, Thomson, Anderson and so on.

I went to school with people whose last name was Paris. Many adopted their place names for last names. To wit, the famous writer, Jack London.

We still choose names sometimes as pen names or aliases. Lewis Caroll who wrote Alice in Wonderland was really Charles Dodgson. For that matter, most of us who blog have chosen names to provide a little anonymity.

I’ve digressed. Don’t I always?
I promise not to take any more cheap shots at our American neighbours’ spelling.  But I’m going to keep on using English and Canadianisms. We don’t want to lose our culture, after all, do we?



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4 Responses to “relinquish,eschew,abjure,dispense with”

  1. wrjones Says:

    Lordy, you and your friend are just plain wordy. But I bet you would be fun to chat with.

  2. swatch Says:

    Hey K – just following your path of digression… in Swakopmund I had a mate named Buzzy – Buzzy Kloot. His father told me the same story and some the Dutch chose silly names to riducule the process, lots of animal names like De Beer (the bear) and Vogel (bird) etc. His forebears chose the name ‘Kloot’ which means testicle – which I think is rather unfortunate – I most certainly would change this if it were mine.
    Like some kids at the same school of my kids. Their ancestors lived at the bottom of the Ram Valley in Britain somewhere. So their surname is ‘Ramsbottom’. Ai! Family pride is strong.

    • Gary Says:

      I was doing a search for Buzzy Kloot, an old school friend back in my Namibia days. Do you any contact information where I could reach him?

  3. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks for the compliment! I like to think positively.
    There are some right crazy names out there, alright – in any language. And I often find it curious that some of what I consider the worst to live with (Oh Lordy, can school children tease you over a name, not to mention the really misfortunate ones!) are the ones the family wearing them defend with tenacity and great pride. There are a great number of them that I’d be changing, if I had them.
    Go figure.

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