Experimenting with Auto-antonyms and Generonyms

monstrosity_by_vihola-d38sq66Excuse me while I dust the cobwebs off my blog and straighten the furniture.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and I have to confess that I’ve been so busy that all the creativity seeped out of my brain to take a nap on the floor under my desk. Continue reading


English: Always in a Mood

moody_owl_by_erikvisser-d7dtnhkDid you know that English has three moods?

Back in the fall, I talked about verb tenses. Because verbs drive our sentences (not to mention the rest of our lives), they carry a lot of responsibility. Continue reading

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs: Spot the Difference

Got Zombie? by April McGuire
Before you say anything, yes, I know. I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. But I have a really good excuse. In addition to being swamped with editing work, I was also putting together the first issue of The Ghouls’ Review for my other, other job over at Grammar Ghoul Press. If you have some time, you should check out the magazine. There are some really awesome writers featured in the issue. Continue reading

Keeping it in the Family

Addams Family

Good morning, dear readers! Today, where I live, it’s Family Day, which is basically a fancy name for a government-legislated, mid-winter day off. Given that I’m self-employed, I don’t actually get the benefit of a paid day off, but I do get to spend the day with my family. And that got me thinking about the word family and where it came from.

So I’m taking a break from my family to share my findings with you—members of my online family. Before I get to the meat of this post, I also thought I’d take this opportunity to lay a little guilt on you, because, after all, we’re family.

The Kickstarter for my novel is heading into its last two weeks. I’ve raised about 20% of my goal, which is awesome, but I won’t get any of those contributions if I don’t reach 100%. So I’d like to ask you to consider backing me, if you haven’t already. And if you have, then I’d like to ask you to spread the word on your social networks.

All right, so let’s look at family.

The word family first appears in English in the early 1400s. At that time, it was actually used to refer to the servants of a household. It comes from the Latin word familia, which referred to family servants and domestics collectively. Occasionally, familia was used to refer to the entire household, including relatives and servants, but very rarely was it used to specifically refer to parents and their children. This makes sense when you see that familia came from the Latin word famulus, which meant servant.

In Latin, the word domus was what they used to refer to the related parents and children who lived together in a house.

It wasn’t until the mid-1500s that family started to include parents and children—but in addition to the servants and including boarders. So really, just anyone who lived under the same roof. By the 1660s, family had shifted to its modern meaning, describing parents and their children, whether or not they lived together, or people descended from a common ancestor, which included aunts, uncles, cousins, et cetera.

So the next time someone in your family complains about doing their chores—or accuses you of treating them like a servant—you can tell them that’s what it means to be part of a family.


Image credit: Google images