Word Tinker

Word Tinker: Words, Culture, History and Christianity (with a slightly Aussie slant) blog.

Community, History and Words

Dec 7th…

          is Good Neighbourliness Day in Turkmenistan. Hey! you say, is there even such a word as Neighbourliness? According to the Cambridge International Dictionary, “the lack of ‘good neighbourliness’ has led to a breakdown in the traditional life of the community.”

Is this a word doomed to become obsolete?

Old Words still in Usage

Words relating to social manners have always had nicknames with each new generation. Here are a few words used as far back as the 14th century and still in use by our elders today.


Rabble…tumultuous crowd of people (1513)

Rascal…person of the lowest class (1330) Today: a term of endearment by elders

Crush…infatuated with (1884) “Have a crush on” (1913)

Shirty…(1814) disheveled, as in anger, bad-tempered

Hot-headed…(1616) ungovernable

Beau…suitor (1665)

But would you dream of using the word ‘neighbourliness’ in a sentence?

The definitive online source to go to if you had to check is the Onelook Online dictionary http://www.onelook.com/ .

The Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?resource=Webster%27s&word=jacknape&use1913=on&use1828=on  is a great source for obsolete words. And if you want to check word usage for your historic novel to give it that authentic ring, look in the Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=dandy&searchmode=none.

 If you don’t know the word you’re looking for, look up the concept in the Onelook Reverse Dictionary http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml .

Michael Quinion has the best index I’ve seen of online dictionaries at http://www.worldwidewords.org/wordlinks.htm including such gems as the Australian National Dictionary, The Jargon File  (for net heads) and The Luciferous Logolepsy for obscure words, plus various slang dictionaries.

By now you would have discovered that neighbourliness is in fact a word in usage. But for how long? Perhaps we need a sociologist to answer that one!  Social Scientist Alvin Toffler says we’re on the cusp of a new civilization. But in a new civilization where communities are full of people (online) you may never meet, has the very concept of neighbourliness  gone out the door? Think about how you can change that today!

PPST! Here are a few Christian  writing communities you could join in the meantime—

Christian Writers Networks Online




http://www.xalt.co.uk/index.php?i=108&prev=1 (UK based)

 More next time…




December 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Community, History and Words