Get A Grip

I have a gripe with English.  It is said that a man with a watch always knows what time it is.  A man with two watches is never sure.  For a word with one meaning, or even several established meanings, I know what is meant.  For words which keep adding, subtracting, and modifying meanings, I am less and less sure what is meant.

The word ‘grip’ originally meant, a grasp, a grab, a hold, by a person’s hand.  Recently, technology has included machines.  Once upon an archaic, the words ‘grip’ and ‘gripe’ meant the same thing.  (Don’t ask me why.  I can’t get a hold on it.)  Now grip can mean a small suitcase with a handle, which can be grasped and carried by one hand.  Gripe can be a nagging complaint by someone who may not have a firm grip on reality.

At one time, ‘grippe’, which is pronounced grip, but which is neither grip nor gripe, was the word to identify influenza, the ordinary, seasonal, gastro-intestinal flu,’ a kinder, gentler, distant relative to COVID.  “Grippe” could cause abdominal cramps, especially among babies and young children.

To alleviate these symptoms, “Grippe Water” was developed and marketed.  My mother dosed me with it several times.  The original formula contained alcohol and sugar in addition to sodium bicarbonate and dill oil – a couple of stomach calmers, some calories to replace what might have been lost to the illness, and a mild sedative to aid with sleeping.  It was once said that the best remedy for a colicky baby, was a good, thick, oak door.

Then the All-Or-Nothing, Save Us From Ourselves, Snowflakes got a grip on it, and removed all the “bad” ingredients, so present-day products do not contain alcohol or sugar, but may contain fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint, depending on the formula.

Grippe’ was what caused the cramping, but ‘gripe’ is the term for the actual clutching, grasping intestinal pain.  Since the formula was changed, the name has also been changed.  ‘Grippe Water’ is no more, and the new product is ‘Gripe Water.’  That’s only one of the English terms that I have a gripe about.  😯

17 thoughts on “Get A Grip

  1. jim- says:

    Grip is also to comprehend, if you can get one.
    There are many words that have a hidden reality to them. I like the word “person” which came from persona, which was the mask worn in Greek and Roman drama. To be a real person is to be a real mask, a genuine fake.
    Nice work sir as usual.

    Like

  2. Rivergirl says:

    And don’t forget Hollywood. Every movie set has a handful of grips. Although what they’re grasping I’m sure I don’t know.

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  3. joeabbott says:

    The term “grip” is also used to refer to the distance from the underside of a bolt’s head to the mating side of the nut … the thickness of material captured by the nut/bolt.

    I also remember hearing someone say, “I have great grips to go”, meaning they had a long way to travel. I never considered whether is was proper usage but I liked it.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I had forgotten that usage of ‘grip,’ although, as a former Purchasing Agent, I bought many nuts and bolts. One time I had to locate a firm to manufacture High Tensile ones to anchor an over-engineered building – 3 “dia. X 12” long. 🙂
      “Great grips to go” sounds like a British idiom. I must do some research on it. Thanx.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    I believe that English may be the least-controlled language of them all. We will borrow shamelessly from any other language. Kapish? No one is in charge, at least in America (and Canada), and if anyone tries to be, we ignore them. Also, the study of grammar seems now to be the province of only English majors and journalists. Strunk and White are long dead. That’s my gripe, but, like, man, it ain’t gonna change.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I sometimes wonder how immigrants learn the language. No matter where they move to, there’s a narrow lane of common, accepted usage. All the rest is regional idiomatic. It amuses me that every soft drink within 500 miles of Atlanta is referred to as “Coke” – cola or not – bottled by Pepsi of some other company or not. 😳

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  5. I see Old English related “grip” to the word “sheath” as well.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Oh?? That’s a usage that had escaped me.
      I couldn’t cover all the nuances and meanings. I was just laying down a basis to put the Grippe Water segment on.
      I believe that it’s the word set where the dictionary runs on for two and a half pages. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Newbloggycat says:

    Thanks for the gripping tale! 👍😆🌈

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  7. Grippe Water was not familiar to me but any mother with a baby who has colic, will try anything. As someone said, your post was a gripping tale.

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  8. What a great post! I was gripped as a kid too and I survived all those ingredients. I mean get a grip, it also helped parents survive. Though I’m not sure I want to grip that old suitcase. I prefer the ones with wheels. That’s the only gripe I have about your post 😆

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    • Archon's Den says:

      There are two, made of concrete, which look quite like it, at the entrance to the big park downtown, in memory of an extinct luggage firm whose land they now sit on.
      I’ll have to take the daughter to Pearson Airport in August. I’m glad that both her large and small cases have wheels. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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