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A Word for Wednesday: Diary

Today marks the birthday of a hugely important figure in history: Anne Frank. Her diary, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ offered us a terrifying insight into the experience of hiding with her family during the German occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. When Anne’s father returned to the concealed rooms in which they were hiding, the diary remained. Since then, the Diary has been translated into many different languages, offering an intensely personal perspective of Jewish life and the horrors of the war.

You’ve guessed it. Today’s Word for Wednesday is diary.

Research suggests the word appeared in the late 16th century, derived from the Latin ‘diarium’ meaning ‘daily allowance’. You also might have guessed that ‘dia’ comes from the Latin for day: ‘dies’.

Diaries are often incredibly personal. For some, they might be a collection of thoughts worries and dreams. And for others they may be organisational, academic even cathartic. Whatever your reasons for keeping a diary, there is no denying their value, in an age where we need barely write anymore, daily practice at expressing your thoughts, opinions, anxieties and successes will hugely benefit your fluency behind the pen.

Taking, say 10 minutes a night to develop this skill rather that watching TV is a productive, expressive and often therapeutic exercise. And for those of you (myself included) who adore nostalgia trips, looking back on a diary will keep those memories fresh! Not to mention that the diary has become a popular format for novels – think Dream Journals.

According to,‘diary’ has a wide range of common misspellings: Diarys, diray, diry, dieary, dialy, diarie. Should have gone to Spellzone…

We won’t ask you to send in your diary entries but maybe this week you should give diary writing a chance – only you have to read it!

Hugh MacDermott

12 Jun 2013
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