Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Brilliant, Informative & Patient

Brilliant, Informative & Patient

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend The Digital Age Authors’ Seminar. It featured – among others – Anne R. Allen & Catherine Ryan Hyde, celebrating the launch of their new book, How to be a Writer in the E-Age and Keep Your E-Sanity.

Given their expertise, it was no surprise that the presenters were informative. Similarly, the etymology of informative holds little surprise. Inform first showed up in English in the early 1300s, coming through French from the Latin informare, which literally meant to shape or form, & figuratively meant to train, instruct or educate.

Both Anne & Catherine have been labeled brilliant by greater folk than me, & I must agree. Their suggestions and observations definitely cast a brilliant light on the breakneck changes going on in the publishing world. Brilliant made its way into the language in the late 1600s, and meant sparkling or shining. It came from Latin, through Italian, through French. Most etymologists agree its roots are in the precious stone beryllium. This word came through Dravidian from Sanskrit. Apparently the first glasses may have been made from beryllium, hinting at the origin of the German, Old French and modern French words for spectacle, brille, bericles, & besicles.

All the presenters showed great patience explaining the techno ins & outs necessary to thrive in today’s publishing world. I appreciated this patience during the presentations, but I truly appreciated it when I looked into the etymology of the word. Patience, to suffer or endure, came to English from Old French in the early 1200s. Its roots are in the word passion. Many writers would claim writing is all about suffering & enduring, but I’d argue that none of us would suffer writing’s slings & arrows if it weren’t for our passion. Over the years, passion has referred to: suffering, misery, woe, scorn, enduring, enthusiasm or predilection, strong liking, strong emotional desire, & even sexual love.

I hope before you leave my page to take a look at How to be a Writer in the E-Age and Keep Your E-Sanity, you’ll leave a comment about informative, brilliance, or passion.

My thanks go out to this week’s sources,, Ewonago & the OED.


  1. Thanks so much for the great shout-out Mr. Monger! Can I say it's BRILLIANT and INFORMATIVE? Thanks for your PATIENCE in sitting through the long intense day...and for your PASSION for words.

  2. Charlie, I didn't mean to drop out on your wonderful posts. Life has been hectic and I've had to exercise patience in attending to this side of life until I could get back to some computer and writing time where one of my passions lies.

    God bless you, sir.

  3. Heyhey Anne & Jean Ann,
    Jean Ann, it's great to have you back. I trust all the hecticity in your life is calming & you're finding that writing time. Anne, yes, brilliant & informative indeed. No problem at all from this end on the patience. In fact, thank you for your patience, as you keep giving me great advice I don't follow (I continue to be tweetless & Facebook free, though I know it's bad form).

  4. Brilliant has always been one of my favorite words. I love to use it in unexpected ways. Like that I just had a brilliant visit with my grandchildren during a brilliant Central Coast weekend. Unfortunately it caused me to miss an informative seminar!

  5. Oh I love them in all their shades and shapes. Thanks for being a teacher. If it were up to me teachers would rule the world.

  6. Hi Christine & Kathleen,
    Thanks for dropping by. My mother-in-law, a retired kindergarten teacher, often has brilliant things to say. After a disappointing vote in Congress, she said if she could speak on the Senate floor, she'd say, "Now boys & girls, let's all put our heads on our desks & remember why we're here, then try this again."
    Ah, if teachers ruled the world...