Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Today's Word: Pronk

I got an email recently asking me if every word has a deep meaning hidden behind it - the answer is no!

Not every word I write about will require a lengthy aside!

Today's word is pronk. Pronk is a verb that describes a vertical jump. It hails from Australia, where it is used to describe the peculiar hop of the kangaroo!

That's it!



Blogger fdfs said...

How valid is this word? I'm not saying you made it up, but as you know, slang is ephemeral. Do you have a printed citation?

8:51 PM  
Blogger Sangroncito said...

Sometimes I feel like pronking from the 20th floor of a tall building. Not today, though. Today is a good day! Hope your day is good too.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Mojo said...

Every morning, when Mr Word wakes up, stands up on his mattress, pronks out of bed, then pronks to the kitchen to make his coffee. Pronk, pronk, pronk! You know, to get the blood flowing.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Mr. Word said...


Your question is one that I get fairly often!

I choose my words for a variety of reasons, but I always try to find words that have surprising meanings or are a tad obscure.

Rest assured that I source my words as thoroughly as possible. It's often in the process of researching a word that I find a unique or fascinating history or sub-meaning. Sometimes though, as in the case of 'pronk', there's just not that much to say - the word has a simple meaning and that's it!

'Pronk' comes courtesy of Roget's Thesaurus, which has been in print since 1852. I love to thumb through my thesaurus for new words!

It's true that 'pronk' is not in common use; it has been overshadowed by 'jump', 'leap', and 'bound'.

As far as slang goes, I do try to avoid slang where possible. But even slang has a role in the development of language. We saw this with the word 'nice'. What started out as a kind of smarmy insult has become a very important word with nothing but fine and gentle connotations!

My personal opinion is that slang is merely a word in its infancy. We linguaphiles tend to reject new words, particularly when they come from a younger generation. But that kind of reactionary attitude does nothing but stifle understanding and limit our ability to communicate! The truth is, none of us owns language.

Yes, language has rules that provide all-important structure, but language is organic and thus thrives when given a bit of room for growth.

For the record - I forget that this blog is a new forum and many of my new readers aren't familiar with me - I am not an authority on language. I have no accredited degree in linguistics. I simply have a passion for words that has carried me through life!

Don't see my blog as an endpoint, see it as a beginning! I'm not a pedantic scholar! No! I'm just a man with a love of language and communication!

As a final note:

I do not take on the mantle of Creator in my role as Mr. Word...I never make words up, and I never fabricate their lineage. I may impose my own interpretations or extrapolations, but I do so with the genuine intention of further exploring the word's potential.

So, thank you for your inquiry Nick! And congratulations on being so bold of heart and keen of mind to question and explore!


11:09 AM  
Blogger Pope Benedict XVI said...

I continue to enjoy reading your blog.

6:10 PM  

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