So often we authors are perceived as dreamers. A look into etymology, though, finds that we artsy writerly types aren’t the only ones who take an occasional snooze. So do words.
When it comes to the word dream, some form of the meaning we know today existed in most the languages that led into Old English, but the written record of Old English only employs a meaning of the word dream that we don’t acknowledge at all today: make a joyful noise. The written record suggests that the modern meaning of dream took a several-century snooze.
The word dream occurs with both meanings in Middle English, which suggests that both meanings were present in Old English, but one of them somehow avoided the printed page until 1179.
Along the way, there are some great tweaky meanings for dream & its cognates, which include but aren’t limited to:
-joy, pleasure, gladness, mirth, rejoicing
-a cherished desire
-deception, illusion, phantasm
-the images or fancies passing through the mind during sleep
-a fancy voluntarily indulged in while awake
-a state of abstraction or trance
-a wild fancy or hope
And those are only the nouns. Dream’s verb forms deserve an entry of their own.
Naturally, there are steaming heaps of quotes having to do with dreams, dreamers & dreaming. I like the dreamlike nature of this one from Carl Jung:
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
So, fellow writers & artsy types, are your works manifestations of your dreams, or the other way around? Do any of the alternate meanings above appeal? The portal into comment-land is at the top of the post.
Thanks to this week’s sources, etymonline.com, the OED, & carl-jung.net & wordnik.com.
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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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