I was teased a few days ago after using this word in a short book review on The Wind in the Willows for our in-store newsletter. Although my critic wondered about my use of the word to endorse a children's book, she did day I had used the word correctly. There is a difference, though, between using a word correctly and actually knowing what you're trying to say. I feel fairly sure that what I meant to say was communicated, but once again, am less sure that I actually know all that much about the word I used. (You can see what my life is like--haphazardly throwing a word out there and then optimistically hoping for the best.)
So what is a 'paean?' The way I think of it is as a sort of hymn of praise, but in a Greek, or at least pagan sense. The word 'ode' also comes to mind. Now it's time to find out the truth...
Well, I seem to be closer than my average in my understanding of the word this time. The word does mean something like a hymn of praise, song of joy, etc., and it does come from Ancient Greek and apparently relates back to songs sung in praise of Apollo. Paian, 'the healing one' seems to have been an epithet of Apollo, and relates back to the Greek word paiein--'to strike, to touch'. You can see the progression, and yet 'song of joy or praise' seems quite a long distance from 'striking or touching', doesn't it?
A Song For Saturday: Don’t Laugh At Me (‘Cause I’m A Fool) by Norman Wisdom - Filed under: A Song For Saturday, comedy, Humour, humour, Paul D Brazill
2 hours ago