Words of the Week 4/21/18

Historical Meaning

By Annette Rey

All of our creative writing comes from our experiences and education; and we should continue learning to enrich our lives. When we write a scene, sometimes even we don’t know where we are going to carry it. We pull from our subconscious minds and a flow of words comes through.

Here are a couple of interesting ones.

Did you know that Fitzroy was a surname given by the king of England to his male children born out of wedlock? This designation gave the sons a sort of official status, at least recognition of their heritage. The name Fitzroy translates “son of a king”. If you research this one word, a whole world of intriguing information will open up to you – castle intrigues, mysteries, affairs, mistresses vying for the king’s ultimate attention – and money and status and property for themselves and their offspring.

The next word is Dauphin. This word applies to the eldest son of the French king, the legitimate son, the heir apparent. My heritage is French. Growing up I was told the word means “the man who would be king”. That phrase comes from a short story by Rudyard Kipling, but I like that as a translation as it sounds more poetic.

Interestingly, my father’s middle name was Dolphin. I always thought his parents were perhaps not so very educated and misspelled the intended word Dauphin. But, I have been rewarded with some recent research. I discovered that Dolphin is the English spelling and I remember my grandparents stressed they wanted their children to be Americans. They even did not teach them French though they were fluent in the language.

With the finding that Dolphin is a correct spelling, I felt a surge of emotion and closeness to my grandparents and am happy I was wrong in thinking they might have been less educated. It turns out, they pretty much knew what they were doing.

I am always promoting writers to research everything to enrich their writing. This recent research reaped a pretty personal reward for me.

That’s just one more reason you writers out there should continue searching out words and getting excited by them. You never know what surprises you might find.



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