She’s a virago!

Virago:

origin and etymology:

Middle English, from Latin viragin-, virago, from vir man

definition:

Plural: viragoes or viragos

  1. a loud, overbearing woman
  2. a woman of great stature, strength, and courage

Mixed messages, anyone? While once considered a compliment (one famous virago being Joan of Arc), it later became more of a slur or derogatory comment (think Taming of the Shrew’s very own shrew). Now it’s trending more towards the complimentary once again. Is there a virago in your farmgirl life?

Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Photo by ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Barbara Criss says:

    I have definitely known some of the first kind! And I was blessed to have known one of the second—my best friend from college. She had both physical and moral stature—she was 5’11 and wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody. She taught me a lot. I never knew a more honest,kind and caring person. Her last act of courage was four years ago when she found out that she had cancer and only six months to live. She planned her own funeral down to the very details of the service. Never once did she feel sorry for herself. She was the most courageous person I have ever known.

  2. Carolyn Kistner says:

    I like the second definition! My best friend is a virago although she’s only 5’4″; I’m 5’7″. We are outspoken and tell it like it is! We’re from the same generation, were born in the same month and year and are always on the lookout for adventures whether it’s cooking, shopping or traveling to places we’ve never been.

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Scurryfunge

Scurryfunge

(v.) middle English; to rush around cleaning frantically, when company is on their way to your home. To clean briskly.

While the oldest known variations (1700s) relate more to scouring pots and pans, or even one’s children, the later variations are attributed to that panicked feeling you get when a long-lost friend calls you from a nearby rest stop, or your mother-in-law phones from the car to let you know she’s in your driveway.

Do you scurryfunge?

Image by Geertruydt Roghman via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Absolutely! I like to have my house be a welcoming place so the clutter and messes all have to be cleaned up. When I first learned about and used B&B options for lodging in the 1990s, I began to understand how a home could be totally lived in with children and pets and still be a calm and cozy environment to anyone. Little touches can make a huge difference and make a home a place one feels at home,comfortable, and special. I decided back in the 1990s that I wanted my home to be like a B

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Well, I hit a key and posted before I finished the sentence! …………I meant to say have my home like a B&B for me, my family and anyone who visits. Who doesn’t love to come home and feel a place of refuge and comfort?

  3. Barbara Criss says:

    Yes, I definitely scurryfunge! I just did it this week as we were getting unexpected visitors. I could not get the house clean enough in so short a time. I was so glad for the snow because the visit was cancelled. I can honestly say that scurryfunging is no fun.

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Are you being watched?

Anatidaephobia is defined as a pervasive, irrational fear that one is being watched …

by a duck.

Yep, a duck.

Maybe the most interesting thing about this one is that there are enough people that have this fear, that it actually has a name!

Photo by Francis C. Franklin via Wikimedia Commons.

Anatidaephobia is derived from the Greek word “anatidae,” meaning ducks, geese, or swans, and “phobos,” meaning fear. While it make us non-suffers giggle, anatidaephobia can be a debilitating anxiety condition, wherein, no matter what one is doing or where s/he is in the world, they feel the constant presence of a lurking and watching duck …

Stephen King, are you listening??

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  1. Barbara Criss says:

    I have never heard of this and it makes me laugh as I have a small town duck pond that I love to go to and feed the ducks. But I can have sympathy for those with this phobia. I think we all have some strange fears known only to ourselves,

  2. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Well, that’s just ducky! Ok, I couldn’t help myself.

    I personally love ducks. I’m not that into chickens but just love those ducks! I was raised on the water , Chesapeake Bay in MD and VA, and in the old days it was known for its ducks (and sorry to say- duck hunting) While growing up, people around me wore a lot of clothing decorated with ducks even. Men’s slacks? of course embroidered with ducks! and the list goes on and on. They are such funny and entertaining birds, sad some are afraid of them.

  3. Natalie Chapman says:

    Ducks are made of sugar and spice and full of cuteness!! Geese, now those boogers will getcha! True! I’ve outrun a few in my life!

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myötähäpeä

myötähäpeä

(n.) Finnish; that secondhand embarrassment you feel when someone is making a fool of themselves, vicarious shame, or shame by proxy. From myötä- (“co-”) +‎ häpeä (“shame”).

For some with deep empathy, their myötähäpeä is so acute as to hide under the covers during movies or television scenes when a character is being ridiculous, or to avoid parties where certain relatives are bound to make an embarrassing entrance.

If you’ve never felt it, you probably haven’t had kids yet …

Photo by Tony Alter via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Can you hear me laughing??? I love this fun word for a human condition that happens as I recall starting as a young child. Remember dreading being around those relatives that were always doing embarrassing stuff at gatherings? When you are small there is no where to run and so you just try and hide behind your Mom trying to be invisible. Then when I got to be a parent and my kids did things that caught me off guard, I remember those same feelings of aghast washing over me. There still wasn’t anywhere to run too!! LOL!!

  2. Karlyne says:

    My kids never did it to me (perfection, after all), but books and movies most certainly do! I’m cringing just thinking about cringing.

  3. Krista says:

    Oh yes. I have felt this way many times! Interestingly enough it’s more because of my husband than it is my children! He’s really good at embarrassing me at all the worst moments, but we tend to laugh about it later on!

  4. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    great word for those of us who have families like mine- ie way out there! I was often the source of their myötähäpeä however as well. nope no one is shy in my extended family.

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whataboutery

whataboutery

(wat-uh-BAUT-uhr-ee)

(n.) The practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation, real or imaginary, relevant or irrelevant. Protesting at hypocrisy; responding to criticism by accusing one’s opponent of similar or worse faults. Protesting at inconsistency; refusing to act in one instance unless similar action is taken in other similar instances.

Sound familiar?

Image, W. Esser, Bodleian Libraries via Wikimedia Commons. Translation: “Now I have to go to Elba with my cock, calmly.”

etymology:
Earliest documented use: 1974. Originally used in describing political discourse during the Northern Ireland troubles, it has also found use in discussions of the origins of other prolonged sectarian conflicts, such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was widely employed by then USSR as a propaganda technique and is now often a favorite of our current president. It is also known as whataboutism. “Turbo-charged online whataboutery is destroying proper debate.” – Helen Lewis, Nov 26, 2015

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

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  1. Krista says:

    I like saying this word and hearing how it sounds. It sounds like a fun made up word. I know a few people who are good at using whataboutery and now I have the perfect word to describe what they are doing.

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paracosm

(n.) A detailed, prolonged, and imaginary world created by a child that includes humans, animals, or alien creatures. Can have a definite geography, language, and history.

pronunciation | \per-o-‘koz-m\

Illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons.

Examples of paracosm:

  • Middle-earth, the highly detailed fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, as expressed in his novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien had been inventing languages since his teen years, only later imagining the people who spoke them or their environment.
  • Gondal, Angria, and Gaaldine, the fantasy kingdoms created and written about in childhood by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë and their brother, Branwell, and maintained well into adulthood. These kingdoms are specifically referred to as paracosms in several academic works.
  • As children, novelist C. S. Lewis and his brother, Warren, together created a paracosm called Boxen, which was in turn a combination of their respective private paracosms Animal-Land and India. Lewis later drew upon Animal-Land to create the fantasy land of Narnia, which he wrote about in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Hogwarts, invented by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.
  • Terabithia, the imaginary kingdom invented by author Katherine Patterson, in her beloved novel Bridge to Terabithia.
  • Never Land, from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
  • Wonderland, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Well, I could go and on, but what’s your favorite paracosm? And did you have your own that followed you into adulthood?

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  1. Karlyne says:

    “When I was sick and lay abed, I had two pillows at my head”… Love that illustration!

    I think I was always so busy getting into other people’s paracosms that I didn’t have an actual one of my own, but all the daydreaming I’ve ever done has involved mountains – which is probably why Narnia is my favorite.

    • MaryJane says:

      Do you live near mountains or merely long for them? Good morning Karlyne!

      • Karlyne says:

        I have always been lucky that even for short periods of time living in cities, the mountains were within easy reach. Our “last” home (hopefully!) is built on top of a hill in a smallish valley with views of mountains to the north, east, and west, and some pretty good-sized hills to the south. Purt-near perfect!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I can’t think of any paracosms from childhood or adulthood that have stuck. Typically, I am not drawn to these sorts of stories for some reason. My memories all track back to favorite stories about animals, like Uncle Wiggly and Babar. I also loved fables where animals, like the fox, were the examples of wrong doings.
    Even as an adult, I am drawn more to historical fiction, murder mysteries, and biography than stories like Star Wars or Harry Potter. I wish to learn more about culture and history than pure fantasy. Too much practical and pragmatic parenting from my parents deep in my head.

  3. Krista says:

    I love fiction and fairytales! My favorite world to experience is Hogwarts. I love “Harry Potter”. I could get lost is others worlds and languages all the time. I can’t say I ever created my own. Probably because I was so busy with everyone else’s. I do remeber when I was growing up though that I so badly wanted to be Mrs. Clause. I believed so much in that world. Still do!

  4. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    I lived in several fantasy worlds of my own imaginings, I invented languages, alphabets, even quasi religions for my own secret worlds. It was my escape from a very difficult childhood. I had one world where I was a cat on the outside and a human on the inside. I was very into my little worlds and it gave me much happiness over the years. especially the difficulty of my own linguistics.Yes ,I was considered a very imaginative and odd child.

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Saudade

Saudade (soh-dah-duh) especially with reference to songs or poetry: a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. An English translation of this word would best be replaced by ‘missingness.’

“Her songs are based on love poems and evoke a melancholy known to the Portuguese as saudade.”

(n.) “yearnings, saudades, those sonorous fruits grown for overripe hearts” or “the love that remains”

A Portuguese and Galician term that is a common fixture in the literature and music of Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and beyond. The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again.

“A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” ~ Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo.

“No matter where I wander, I’m still haunted by your name
The portrait of your beauty stays the same
Standing by the ocean wondering where you’ve gone
If you’ll return again
Where is the ring I gave to Nancy Spain?”
~ Barney Rush in his example of saudade in contemporary Irish music.

Image by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Krista says:

    This is a cool new word. When I was in school I remember reading quite a few poems that were saudade. I think that sort of feeling is what draws people in to writing a poem.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Brother can I relate to this word. It seems lately that I have become keenly aware of several parts of my past that are forever gone; people, places, friends. When the world has been steeped in so much sadness lately, these sorts of losses seem bigger than when I was younger. However, I can say, with out a doubt, that I am always also aware of beauty that surrounds me everyday. Wasn’t the Beaver Moon this past Friday and Saturday night breathtakingly beautiful??? We had the great pleasure to be invited by friends to go with them on a pontoon boat way out to a quiet corner of Newnan’s Lake and watch the moon rise. We were all cheering!

  3. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    what a wonderful and poetic word to learn, thanks for sharing this MaryJane.

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tombstone tourists

Taphophilia Origin: Ancient Greek τάφος (taphos, “funeral rites”, “burial”, “funeral”, “wake”; “tomb”, “grave”) + English -philia (from the Ancient Greek φιλία (philia), philia, “love”, “fondness”)

If wandering through cemeteries, imagining the lives of those who lay beneath the poems and quotes, and taking pictures of the tombstones is something that someone you know enjoys, s/he just might have a mild case of taphophilia. Also called a “tombstone tourist,” or a “cemeterian,” or even a “cemetery hunter,” the people afflicted with this don’t seem to suffer from it. Quite the contrary, they find walking through a cemetery to be the most peaceful of hobbies. What’s not to love? Trees, peace, quiet, maybe even a rest beneath a tree. Or perhaps the contemplation of life itself while leaning up against a … beautifully carved rock.

Glasnevin Cemetery by William Murphy via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I always enjoy wandering through old cemeteries and stopping to think about who is there and the age they died. It is also interesting to visit historical cemeteries and notice the number who died close together indicating some sort of communicable disease outbreak. One of the most sobering visit to a cemetery I ever made was the one in France close to where D-Day invasion occurred. There are thousands and thousands of white stone crosses of young men who gave their life that day on the banks of Normandie beaches. It is haunting. Impeccably kept, it is a US owned property and hundreds come every day to give their thanks and pay respect for the sacrifices made. War is such an ugly thing.

  2. Krista says:

    I’m am not very fond of cemeteries, but when we do visit I do enjoy reading the headstones to see who it belongs to. I like seeing how long their life was as well as how many kids they had and etc. Its even interesting to see if any share the same birthday or anniversary as someone I know. If I go with my parents to an older cemetery sometimes we will wander over to the older headstones just to see how different they are from ours nowadays.

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Yoisho

When was the last time you ‘yoisho’ed? I’m betting it was more recently than you think.

Like at the top of a mountain after a long hike, on a bed of clover. Or at the end of a work week that just felt like it would never end. Accountants experience it every April 16th, when tax season finally wraps up. Definitely, Santa Claus has his yoisho moments on each and every December 26th.

Yoisho

(phr.) A Japanese expression used when flopping onto a chair or bed or floor, usually after a hard day’s work, combined with a grunt or loud exhale.

Photo by unknown photographer via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s one of those nifty words that isn’t easily translated into English, but apparently, some Google-translated documents and/or books that have been translated into or from Japanese will translate our expression ‘sheesh!’ into ‘yoisho!’

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  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    What a cool word! Perfect even in Japanese! Yes I will use that word each night as I finsh up my day’s work on the farmette. iIt’s harvest season and I am putting in long hard hours., si I am definitely saying yoisho from now on.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The word sounds foreign when I say it but I can relate to the photo for sure! The thing about yoisho moments also seem to me to happen when one is doing something worthwhile. When I am exhausted from something really tedious or emotionally upsetting, the plop down is one of surrender and having been totally spent in a very negative way. I wonder if the Japanese have a word that expresses that condition?

  3. Jana says:

    Great word and I sure can relate, usually on a Friday night after a long hard week at work.

  4. Krista says:

    This is my new favorite word! I can say I feel this way almost every night after I put the boys to bed. I plop down on whatever is closest and realized I survived the day! Even though the day was exhausting, I still feel very blessed.

  5. Pat says:

    I’ll definitely use the word from time to time as I’m saving to visit Japan. I love your magazine!

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Alharaca

Don’t even pretend you’ve never experienced and/or displayed this one.

You know you have.

Probably when you were hungry (i.e. hangry = the state of being hungry and angry all at once).

Or maybe when you’ve just had “one of those days.” You know the ones: when you lose things, the dog gets out, the children get sick, the deadline looms, and you just can’t take one more thing slipping sideways on you.

What is alharaca, anyway?

(n.) an extraordinary or violent emotional reaction to something small and insignificant.

Can you say hissy-fit?

Photo by Fox Film Corporation via Wikimedia Commons.

Embarrassing as a moment of alharaca can be in hindsight, we’ve all been there. You don’t have to be Nellie Olsen, Miss Piggy, or the Queen of Hearts; even the least drama-queen-like of us farmgirls can relate.

As a wise woman once said, “Pardon me while I overreact irrationally.”

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  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    When I was growing up in the south, they called it ” having kittens”. Yep I’ve been there, haven’t we all? And in hindsight it’s always something so stupid that sets you off, the proverbial ” straw that broke the camel’s back”

  2. Karlyne says:

    Finally, a word to define the crimson blush of inconsequent rage! Thank you!

  3. Michele Bilka says:

    And I thought I was antiquated by using the term “hissy-fit”. Have you ever noticed it’s usually not used on men but on children up to the age of about 19 & females of all ages. ;))

  4. Krista says:

    Yep! I can admit that I have been there. Seems like my hissy-fits occur more on the cranky/whinny baby days. There must be a connection lol!

  5. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh yeh, I can relate 100%!! I’ve had many of those kind of moments in my life. Now, instead of a rage, I just sort of slump into a chair and feel weary until the “spell” passes and I can move on.

  6. Karlyne says:

    Yes, to for and to!

  7. Chrissy says:

    Well, with the nickname of “Chrissy” and a genetic temperament, “hissy-fit” was used commonly around me. Now I just get this mostly at work, when I haven’t had time to take a lunch break and I call it being “hangry.”

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