You’ve heard of a no-fly zone. Now, there’s a no-cry zone. That’s when it comes to onions. Or rather sunions.
English is not the only discipline to combine two elements to from a new one. Agriculture too is well known for its hybridisation and has brought us many delicious fruits and vegetables that add variety to our diets.
Today I am borrowing from agriculture by taking its new vegetable name and using it as my new work.
So, sunion is an onion, with all the powerful flavours of this strong bulb vegetable in the Allium class, but without the chemical irritants that cause crying. Thus, a no-cry zone.
In my research, I accidentally found, in addition to sunion, the word sonion, which has inspired some interesting definitions of its own.
Urban Dictionary offers: “sonion, the son of an onion; often used to describe an awesome bro. “yo sonion, wanna go rip a monster bowl?” shows how to use the word in a sentence (ehem). https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sonion
Another site has developed an entire personality profile for this creature, sonion, in very poorly written English, I must add.
However, it suggests that sonions prioritise freedom and independence and are particularly curious about the unknown.
They are said to enjoy travel and abhor routine tasks. They generate ideas that are well-supported but soon tire of concepts that don’t excite them.
For more on this fascinating personality, please go to: (link)http://www.meaningslike.com/name-stands-for/sonion#learn-more
I’m amazed that you can find this analysis, which to me sounds like pure fiction, written by websites that pass themselves off as authorities (maybe the laugh is on me), but it has been fun.
So whichever way you want to take it, I wish you lots of salads with crunchy sunion, or why not try a creative exercise and write your own profile of a sassy sonion.
Almost every word in English has a definition and almost every word composition has a description for why it came to be called that.
Until that is, the word that you want to know more about is not in the dictionary (try Google) or worse the composition is unexplained.
Today I invite you to look at a piece of work I did some years ago.
In the spirit of disruption an after and before. Have you noticed how disruptors are the new cool? Anything or anyone who disrupts the normal way of doing things gets the kudos, the fan base and the stand-up-and-take-a-look response that is expected. Now let’s dispense with tradition and turn it upside down.
So this is how it’s going to go.
Would you say English is a careless language? I think the opposite is true. English is a careful language in that its most practiced users choose words with specific intent, to ensure their purpose of meaning is clear.
I love a red herring. And no, I don’t mean because it’s an ideal protein in a low-carb high-protein diet. It’s also great for breakfast.
At school I had a maths teacher who was fond of colouring her teaching with idioms. A red herring was one of her favourite idioms.
She would use the phrase as a defence against answering a question she believed to be irrelevant.
In recent weeks I became curious about the metaphor ‘a ticking time bomb’.
There’s something about it that does not ring true. Not true, in that sense but not grammatically correct.
There are too many words in the phrase. The offending word here is ‘ticking’.
Rats! If you’ve ever had the problem of rats in your home, you may identify with strongly negative feelings about the small annoying creatures.
Thanks to my compulsive TV watching habits, I learnt that the collective noun for rats is mischief – a mischief of rats.
Collective nouns for animals, such as a congress of baboons are very interesting and often surprising – too many to mention here.
Thinking back to last year when the rats came to eat the dog food that was carelessly left around the home, their trails of mischief were abundant. From the holes in the packaging of the sturdy dog food bags, to little poo droppings all over the place, it was plain to see we had a rat problem.
We could hear them running in the roof, and saw a couple run across the lounge floor, but at such a speed, we could not catch them. We would shriek, “there goes a rat” but be frozen to inaction as the rat scuttled to safety under the cupboard. And who wants to touch a rat with bare hands and no trapping device? (not that I would use one of those).
It wasn’t long before the rats were breeding faster than rabbits. We had to call the exterminator to get rid of the multiple mischiefs.
Rats are associated with dirt, disease and disgust, so when you refer to someone as a rat, you imply that they are not trustworthy.
To rat on someone means to give the game away, in other words, to tell the boss that your colleague is not at work because he is applying for another job, and not at the doctor with a near fatal tumor.
Rats in the language give expression to displeasure or distaste but their close cousin the mouse, has a much friendlier reputation. They are considered cute and considerate – as quiet as a mouse – and many a character has been animated to be a larger than life rodent. Perhaps we have Mickey Mouse to thank for that.
Any famous rats of Walt Disney fame? None that I know of, but thousands upon thousands used in medical experiments for the health of human kind.
Yesterday as I was cursing the spinning instructor for insisting I use muscles I didn’t know I had to save energy, I thought she had lost the plot.
Saving energy seemed the most unlikely outcome for all the effort it took to apply these untrained muscles to a cycling routine. Raised heart rate and an opportunity to confront my fitness or lack thereof were much more on track.
Nonetheless, I was enjoying myself and got to thinking about all the other sweaty pursuits I had participated in with greater or lesser skill.
At school, I played, netball, squash and hockey – even made the athletics team at age 13; at varsity I ventured into badminton and once or twice allowed my roommate to drag me out of bed for a jog around the block.
Post university, I was keen to learn modern dancing, something I had yearned for from a very young age. I loved dancing, first modern, cotemporary and later Latin and Ballroom with a skill rating of average in all instances.
Mid-career I bought a fitness franchise to supplement my income. The franchise provided members with a running or walking programme tailored to fitness levels.
I had to learn how to instruct the programme and all the terminology that went along with it.
It was the first time I came across the word fartlek. It sounded like a way to release flatulence on a long run, and then blaming the person behind you. I laughed as I visualised thousands of runners in an athletics heat trying to surge ahead to escape the foul air.
But fartlek is a programme that includes interval training. Alpha dictionary describes it as an athletic training regime. Fartlek is also listed as one of the funniest words in the English language, ranking in the top 50. https://www.alphadictionary.com/articles/100_funniest_words.html
I am always delighted to find new words and explore their meanings, but I must admit that an athletics training manual was the last place I expected to find a word to add to my vocabulary.
Somnolent: Word use and origin
How to deal with your Grammar Gremlins