Such a gleaming, shiny, silvery word. It has the three [s] sounds like shining steel unsheathed, padded by the pair of [n]s, but, better, it has such a neat near-symmetry to its two parts. And everything is even: two each of s, c, n, overlapping pairs like links of silver chain, and woven in between are the two pairs of e‘s. And all curves: every letter has a curve or two, and only the n‘s and e‘s have straight lines to match (four vertical lines and four horizontal lines). All together the letters shimmer like rhinestones. But this shine is not metal but mettle, the silver of hair, the wealth of wisdom earned in a life lived, and now as the contents improve the container weakens, the shimmering like that of a mirage ready to evanesce, in a sense. Ah, sense – something one may gain in greater amounts with time, as one sees the scenes and senses the scents of experience. The chain is the chain of life. And of language: words from words from words from words… sen from Latin, as in senex “old man,” whence also senator; escence also from Latin, escentem, a participial suffix for a verb, indicating incipience: something is beginning to happen, as in adolescence, somnolescence, and recrudescence. It sounds like essence but it is the bud… in this case, the bud of the decay, the aging, the going to seed, but also the culmination of experience, the acme of a life well lived. The cents have been saved and have gained interest and, germinating, bloom silver.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
Songs of Love and Grammar
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
I speak, too!I am available to do presentations on language and editing, and I can even lead a word tasting session for your group. For more information, contact me at an email address which is my first name (James) at my last name (Harbeck) followed by a period and the letters ca. (The preceding roundabout expression is for avoiding address harvesters for unwanted emails.)