Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P - is for Pestilence

Pestilence is such a juicy word, don't you think?

I mean, how often does one use "pestilence" in daily conversation? I don't think I have ever used it - hence the need to use it now.

Pestilence, pestilence, pestilence.

When I hear that word I think of medieval times, when pestilence was a problem. Is that why we don't use it? It is an "old" or archaic word that has fallen into disuse because it doesn't describe our world today?

Then I got to thinking ... is the word pestilence - what I think it is. What does it exactly mean? Could I use it in a sentence if I had to? or wanted to? or strived to? hmmm... maybe not in the 21st century.

How to know!

Right, get a dictionary - see what Webster says about this word. Luckily, after much searching, I discovered we had a dictionary. It is a behemoth of a dictionary. Lets see how impressed you are with my dictionary. It is the:

Dictionary Definition Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary
2,347 pages, thumb indexed
320,000 definitions
19 encyclopedic supplements
3,000 illustrations
full color maps of the world
Deluxe Second Edition $79.95

(pocket edition)
joke, Ha!

After I dusted it off I was a bit reflective. 1983! That may have been when we got this book - and I am just now using it! I must have known 28 years ago, I was going to need a dictionary sometime - and now is the time. :-)

And the cover price was almost $80 - a lot of money now and more money in the 1980s when we were a struggling young couple with 2 small kids. The book is at least 6 inches thick and you could break a few bones if you dropped it on someone's foot. And I never used until I looked up "pestilence". Do you think I got my money's worth? Well, I think pestilence is at least $80 word, don't you?

I discovered the word has 3 definitions:

1. any virulent or fatal contagious disease (kind of what I thought)
2. an epidemic of such a disease; especially, the bubonic plague. (getting interesting)
3. anything, as a doctrine, regarded as harmful or dangerous (now we are talk'en)

The sentence they provided was:

Power is like a desolating pestilence.

Yes ... this is definitely a 21st century word!

Note: Today is my birthday. Maybe I should have chosen a different topic, like Present or Party for P.

No ... pestilence is so much more interesting!!


  1. Great P word....are elections a pestilence?

  2. Hey Retired Knitter ~~ I'm visiting from the A~Z Challenge .
    Yes , the word definitely has a certain juicy aural appeal ...


  3. Mybabyjohn,

    I am thinking elections are not a pestilence. I think elections are our way of trying to make things right.

    But the outcome - power - well, that seems to be the problem. For some reason humans historically can't seem to handle "power" well.

    Not in our DNA I guess.

  4. hi Elaine:)

    hope you're having a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    i use the free online dictionary:)

  5. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you and many more-----

    Like the title of your blog! This is my first time visiting.

    I think texting is a pestilence, seriously. I'm afraid that our youth won't have a clue how to spell or capitalize. Maybe it's an English teacher thing.
    In 10 years, I might still be offering workshops. Lucky for them, that's all I can say.

    MM the Queen of English

  6. That is one massive dictionary! I usually refer to a small desk dictionary that I have or go online. I have some larger dictionaries but none like that one you have.


    Tossing It Out

  7. HI! I've given you the Stylish Blogger Award!


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