Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Ah, gregarious. At the outset, this word tends to be swapped with garrulous, but it is anything but. Garrulous means wordy or talkative, like the oral version of prolix, while gregarious... well.

Gregarious derives from the Latin "grex" or "gregis" for "flock or herd". "Gere" became the verb for "to gather or assemble". It's so nice when a word still means which it was intended to mean without any circular or stilted meaning. Gregarious still means tending to seek the company of others, as well as living in flocks or herds. Now, I will note one quirk. Gregarious was not coined as a word until c. 1668, so apparently, prior to that, people and animals assembled in different ways, or perhaps didn't assemble quite so socially, but for political, business or even just survival needs [compare: convene] or were brought together by a third-party [compare: assemble] or perhaps simply that gregarious doesn't operate as a verb, but only as a modifier and a noun. Gregarious zebras met gregarious ostrich at the watering hole. Yes, clearly. He was a gregarious fellow and could be counted on to attend each social event of the season. Yes. The annual Plaintiff's bar convention was a gregarious occasion, as well as an opportunity for a covert AA meeting. Possibly, as it may be extended to the activities of people/animals and of course this depends on how social you perceive attorneys to be. The teddy-bears on her shelf seemed spookily gregarious. Hehe. Technically, no, since gregarious like so many words, requires sentience, but for sarcasm it could work. Also, if you're like me, and you've seen enough B horror movies, you know that maybe the teddy-bears were sentient.

So, while there's so play with the word, it's still pretty straightforward. I hope that one day this may become a gregarious discussion forum. hmm. Have to think about that usage some more. The internet is such a vague form still--it is a person, or a letter or a telephone or a newspaper or an idea or other intangible. Regardless, it could work since the reference is a grouping conduit. Anyone want to expand the usage with me?


Anonymous said...

why cant u just post an acual definition :(

Lauren said...

Dear Anonymous,

There is a link to Doctor Dictionary imbedded with each word if you just want a quick and dirty definition. If you want a better definition, try the Oxford English Dictionary.

The reason I don't post just "an acual[sic.] definition" is that inherently, I don't believe such a thing exists in the abstract. A word is defined by how it is used--correctly or incorrectly--whereas a typical dictionary tends to provide only a list of synonyms for any given word. As the point of this blog is to discuss the nuances of the usage of words which might otherwise be incorrectly regarded as synonyms, I believe such "definitions" are an injustice to the English language.

Unknown said...

Haha, Anonymous, there aren't enough dictionaries online for you?

Thanks for your post, Lauren. I was confused and thought garrulous and gregarious were synonyms.

It's weird to be reading a blog with proper homonym usage. : )