blog home

Once upon a time


This week’s Word for Wednesday is a noun most of us will use every day. Unfortunately we can’t see it, hear it or touch it. It is in fact a phenomenon so incredibly abstract that it can easily slip out of our grasp. It seems to have the ability to bend and stretch, to fleet and vanish.

Tolkien once wrote a wonderful riddle to which our word is the answer:

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Time is constantly around us but nowhere to be seen. It is a system so deeply ingrained in our psyche that it is almost impossible to conceive a state of being without it.

Imagine a world in which time wasn’t a recognized structure, would life be any less stressful, or does the very concept of time lead to a more organized even enjoyable lifestyle?

The most interesting ancestor of the word time is probably the (PIE) Proto-Indo-European word, ‘di-mon’ meaning ‘to divide’. Interestingly, we also get the idea of a ‘tide’ from this origin – the division of earth and sea. In Old English, ‘tide’ meant a ‘point or portion in time’ later; this was used to describe the rising and falling of the sea. Have you ever wondered why ‘tide’ and ‘time’ are so similar?

I think questioning the concept of time itself is enough of a mind-boggle for a Wednesday, so I’ll catch you next time…

Hugh MacDermott


08 Jan 2014
blog home

Comments


Add a comment

If you are subscribed to Spellzone please login to comment.

Print this page
share this page:

Online help...


If you need help logging into your account, or you need more information, we are here to help. Before contacting us, we suggest that you look at the help section of Spellzone.

Help