Monday, April 16, 2007

Bluster; Deluge

In honor of the East Coast weather, I have decided to abandon today's wotd in favor of two more appropriate words.

Bluster derives from the Norse "blastr" for "blowing or hissing", and still means to roar of be tumultuous, as a wind. I don't think it quite means the gale forces that are whipping around the house, now, but definitely enough to blow my hair in all directions. The aspect of the "hissing" has been mostly lost, transmuted into just generic loudness. And really, the wind doesn't make a hissing as much as it make a whooshing or howling, unless hissing is a bad whistle. But all in all, this word still retains much of its original etymology through to usage. Of course, the idea of the blowing wind also got applied to people who are so inclined as to sound like blowing wind, but that doesn't bother me. I probably would have made that leap anyway in my "expanded" usages. So, the blustering wind flipped over the boat last night and knocked down several power lines. All his blustering about the wind did not stop Mother Nature's onslaught. And I can only hope that my flight today will not be accosted by sudden drops in altitude due to blustering winds. Plaintiff's counsel's blustering did not conceal the fact that his client had stood him up for the hearing.

Now, it does appear to me that "blustering winds" has either become a catch phrase, or may be somehow redundant in the face of bluster referring to wind which already blows. If the wind doesn't blow, is it really wind? Or just stagnant air. But bluster does add a level of description to the wind well above breeze or zephyr. What is odd is that blusterer doesn't have the same connotation of being another noun shaving description of the wind unlike breeze or zephyr, but seems to apply more to the person who talks like such wind. A real blusterer, he was mostly ignored by his colleagues. Not, the blusterer unexpectedly tipped over the lawn statuary--unless this is the person pulling a practical joke. So, there is a need to still use "bluster" with "wind" in order to get at the noun.

And where there is wind, can rain be far behind? Deluge comes from the Latin "diluvium" for "flood" having gone through a couple of evolutions prior with "diluere" for "to wash away or dissolve", having derived from "lavere" for "to wash". I suppose with enough water, anything would be "dissolved" or "washed away"... And deluge still means a great flood or inundation of water. So, the rains on the East Coast are threatening to deluge most cities with a foot or more of water. Now, while I don't tend to use bluster outside the real wind, notwithstanding that I have met my fair share of Plaintiffs' counsels (they mostly grandstand, not bluster). But deluge! Now, there's a word I can sink my teeth into. She was deluged in paperwork, bills, discovery responses, accolades, blog requests [well, I can hope!]... Anything that can be likened to a flood works equally well with deluge, tangible or intangible.

So, please stay warm and dry, and may your wind and rain for today only be in the form of these words!

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