WOW #26

Dictionary

BEDIZEN

Definitions for bedizen

Someone with a PHD from Couch-Potato University
a permanent resident of a flat, soft structure with covers

That’s what I thought it meant, when I first saw the word on Dictionary.com – a perpetual loafer, a bed-izen….like a citizen, or a denizen (Who is a couch potato in the rec-room).  But it really means….

To dress or adorn in a showy, gaudy, or tasteless manner.

Origin of bedizen

1655-1665

Bedizen is not a common verb in English. It is a derivative of the even more uncommon verb dizen, which occurs only from the 16th century and becomes obsolescent by the end of the 19th century. The element diz- is probably the same as in distaff “a staff for holding flax or wool for spinning” and is probably related to Middle Low German dise “bunch of flax on a staff for spinning.” Bedizen entered English in the 17th century.

So, it’s not pronounced ‘bed’ at all, but rather [bih-dahy-zuh n, –dizuh n]

I don’t believe that my daughter the spinner, will be any too happy about the arrogant, classist, condescending, judgemental assumption that spinsters’ adornments are tasteless or gaudy.  Medieval and Renaissance women without a man to support them, had to rely on spinning, weaving and sewing for others, to survive.  That’s where the word spinster came from.  They could not afford expensive gewgaws.

Tasteless and gaudy is not restricted to spinsters, as the ‘70’s K-Tel ‘Bedazzler’, and today’s’ Kardashians prove. 😳

Stop back again next week (or next month) for a more recent word, that’s not tasteless or gaudy.

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