Though local writer and mensch, Paul Fahey passed away a few years ago, I'm continuing to remember him fondly.
Here's a look at some of the many words those who knew Paul have used to describe him.
Supportive appeared in the 1590s from the verb support through Old French from a Latin word meaning to convey, carry or bring up.
Talented showed up in English in the 1630s. It came from the word talent, which has been around since the 1200s, meaning inclination, will, or desire. It came from Greek through Latin & Old French, & originally meant a balance, a pair of scales, or anything of weight.
Encouraging came to English in the 1400s from the word courage, which was born of an Old French word meaning innermost feelings, heart.
Gracious made its way to English in the 1300s from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning to favor. One of gracious’s English meanings is merciful & benevolent.
Kind made its way to us through Proto-Germanic & Old English. When the word kind appeared in Modern English in the 1400s, it meant benign, compassionate, loving, full of tenderness.
One of the conversations Paul & I regularly shared over the years had to do with the word mensch, a person of strength & honor. We share(d) the goal of working toward what we called menschhood. Mensch came to English in 1907 through Yiddish from a German word meaning human. Mensch’s Proto-Indo-European root was *manna-, which isn’t related to manna from heaven, but I would submit that having a mensch in one’s life, like having Paul Fahey in one’s life, is indeed, manna. I miss him.
Paul was a prolific writer, editor, & LGBTQ advocate. But I'd submit that mostly, he was a mensch.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: the OED, Etymonline, Collins Dictionary, Merriam Webster, & Wordnik.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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