Tuesday, June 29, 2010




: discreetly cautious: as a : hesitant and vigilant about dangers and risks b : slow to grant, accept, or expend

This word began as a tribute to the bittersweet, once meaning both sorrowful and cherished. I think of nostalgia—grief at an absence of what once was, but also touched by having once been at all.

I can't quite figure how CHARY made the transition into hesitance. Is it the danger of the bittersweet
recollection? The ease at which one can be sucked into nostalgic remembrance? I'm struck by how much CHARY resembles WARY: arising from or characterized by caution. What is it about being sorrowful or cherished or both that inspires reluctance? There seems to be a huge hole in this etymology.

(12 hours go by)

With a little digging, I find that CHARY comes from the Middle English word "caru," which means care. I suppose care can move to sorrow, but it can also move to careful, as in cautious.

I return to the original email to discover this information is right there, it somehow took me all day to draw the line between care and careful.

Okay. I'm still on vacation. The wheels are moving a bit slower considering the EXTREME humidity in the northeast.

HOWEVER, I might add that bittersweet is not only a feeling but also a plant that bears small fruits that resemble cherries which sounds a whole lot like CHARY.

I'm stopping.

1 comment:

  1. It's also listed as invasive. (you're not allowed to posses, buy or sell it in this state.) Does that complicate things?