I looked at The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt and my heart sank. Percolate. That was the word the invisible elves at The Daily Post had come up with. Percolate. And they expect us hard-working writers to come up with something original, a unique post, using a word that makes everyone who hears it think of one thing and one thing only: Coffee. Occasionally, there will, of course, be an enlightened soul amongst us who thinks outside the box (I hate that phrase. I don’t know why I used it. Maybe I need coffee) and comes up with something along the lines of allowing an idea to percolate. Even then, it can almost be guaranteed that while they’re writing about allowing said idea to percolate, they’ll have a coffee. Giving us writers the word “percolate” is, in psychological terms, the worst word association game ever. The only useful information that anyone will garner from it is that writers like coffee!

OK, Eleanor, come on! You can do this! Think about the word “percolate” and see where your thought process takes you.

Percolate. A verb whose origin lies in the 17th century, stemming from the Latin percolat meaning “strained through” and the verb percolare, which in turn comes from the Latin per meaning through and colare meaning to strain.

We tend to think of Latin as a difficult, obsolete, archaic language. And yet, a great many of the words we use today, have their roots in Latin. We even use Latin in its original form, with phrases such as carpe diem (seize the day) and habeas corpus (literally meaning to have the body but used in a legal sense to denote wrongful imprisonment). Another example is vox nihili. Whereas vox populis means “the voice of the people”, vox nihili literally means “the voice of nothing”. It is used to describe an utterly pointless or meaningless statement, but it can also be used for the kind of spelling mistake or textual error that you get when one word is mistakenly substituted for another – such as happens – and often with hilarious results – when using autocorrect.

So there you have it. From percolate to autocorrect via Latin. Now, who’s got the coffee?




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