Monday, June 27, 2005

Today's Word: Godet

Today's word is a cautionary-tale of extreme significance!

Many of our words find their roots in foreign languages...This is a natural and important part of the ever expanding world of words. But sometimes, if there is too much commingling, original meanings are lost!

The godet is a prime example of how words can take on entirely new meanings over time.

Godet's etymological parentage is a cultural feast - drawing both from the French word for a goblet and the Middle Dutch word for a wooden cylinder.

However, the word in English only adopts the concept of volume from its multi-ethic lineage - a godet is a triangular piece of fabric used to enhance the fullness of a garment. Next time you go shopping, you'll notice that many dresses use the godet to give distinct lines to otherwise plain clothes. The godet gives a skirt moxie!

See how quickly meaning can change?

Does this mean we should adopt a closed-door policy towards other languages? Should we close our linguistic borders for fear of dilution?


On the contrary, it is through these leaps of meaning that languages thrive and grow. To restrict the natural exchange of ideas across cultures is to condemn a language to a slow and stagnant DEATH.

Words are what tie communities together, and with proper use and understanding, they can unite the world. The more we draw from other cultures, and the more we share our understanding of the world, the healthier and more robust our relationships with each other will be.



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