Tuesday, May 17, 2011
bedizen [bɪˈdaɪzən] v. t.
1.) To dress out, especially in a vulgar or gaudy fashion (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).
Etymology: Possibly Middle Dutch disen, to prepare a distaff with flax for spinning, from Middle Low German dise, disene, bunch of flax.
"Prithee, young one, who art thou, and what has ailed thy mother to bedizen thee in this strange fashion? Art thou a Christian child,—ha? Dost know thy catechism? Or art thou one of those naughty elfs or fairies whom we thought to have left behind us, with other relics of Papistry, in merry old England?" (The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850).
There we go, a nice Dutch word. There's my answer to those critics who claimed I was only promoting French words. But there does seem to be some truth in the claim that high-status, literary words tend to be French. Interestingly, there also seems to be a deeply-rooted bitterness about this very fact: the complicated, ambivalent relationship between the English and the French in a nutshell. Of course, there also seems to be a combination of respect and disdain for the use of high-status words simpliciter. But that's something of an uncomfortable subject for me.
Posted by -E- at 5:01 AM