Bridgetymology – awkward

PEOPLE AT EVERY AGE IN EVERY STAGE EXPERIENCE EMBARRASSING MOMENTS, TOO LONG LULLS IN CONVERSATION,  STRANGE REACTIONS, FITS OF INAPPROPRIATELY LOUD LAUGHTER … AND USUALLY WHEN THESE THINGS HAPPEN, WE HAVE THAT BRIEF REFLECTION IMMEDIATELY AFTER… THE ONE WORD THAT FLOATS TO THE TOP OF OUR MINDS IS UMMMM AWKWARD?!

WE HAVE BEEN SO TRAINED TO ASSOCIATE THE WORD AWKWARD WITH THAT VERY SPECIFIC UNCOMFORTABLE FEELING. IT’S A WORD YOU’VE SURELY HEARD AND USED HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF TIMES. BUT WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU ACTUALLY REVIEWED THE DEFINITION OF AWKWARD?

HERE AT BRIDGET, WE’RE HUGE FANS OF EXPANDING OUR VOCABULARY AND BECOMING BETTER COMMUNICATORS. THAT IS WHY TODAY, ASHA BREAKS DOWN THE WORD ‘AWKWARD’.

define awkward

MIRRIAM WEBSTER HAS MULTIPLE DEFINITIONS FOR AWKWARD, AS IT IS NOW SO WIDELY USED.

#1. LACKING DEXTERITY OR SKILL, AS IN THE USE OF THE HANDS.

#2. LACKING EASE OR GRACE (AS OF MOVEMENT OR EXPRESSION).

#3. LACKING THE RIGHT PROPORTIONS, SIZE, OR HARMONY OF PARTS

#4. LACKING SOCIAL SKILLS, OR UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SOCIAL INTERACTION.

#5. NOT EASY TO HANDLE OR DEAL WITH : REQUIRING GREAT SKILL, INGENUITY, OR CARE.

awkward broken down

AWKWARD ARRIVED INTO ENGLISH BY NORSE INFLUENCES. IT IS BUILT OF TWO PARTS: AWK– AND –WARD. AWK COMES FROM OLD NORSE AFUGR WHICH MEANS “TURNED THE WRONG WAY.”

THIS COMES FROM THE PROTO-GERMANIC (VERY EARLY GERMANIC) AFUG-, WHICH COMES FROM THE PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN (A PREHISTORIC, THEORETICAL LANGUAGE) APU-KO.

THESE ARE ALL RELATED TO THE EARLY ROOT APO-, WHICH WE SEE IN APOLOGY, APOSIOPESIS, APOTHEOSIS.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT THE SECOND PART.

THE –WARD SUFFIX COMES FROM THE OLD ENGLISH –WEARD, WHICH MEANS “TURNED TOWARD.”WEARD STEMS FROM THE PROTO-GERMANIC WARTH.

TAKING A STEP EVEN DEEPER IS THE PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN WERT. THE ROOT MEANING HERE IS “TO TURN OR WIND” OR “TURNED TOWARDS.” .AS IN TO-WARD, FOR-WARD, BACK-WARD, WAYWARD, AFTERWARD. ALL OF THEM USE -WARD TO INDICATE A DIRECTION OF MOVEMENT OR ORIENTATION.

SO AWKWARD IS ETYMOLOGICALLY AUTOLOGICAL. IT LITERALLY MEANS “TURNED TOWARDS BEING TURNED AWAY FROM.”

OVER TIME THE MEANING OF THE WORD EVOLVED FROM LITERALLY MEANING PERVERSE (AKA TURNED AGAINST ITSELF) TO MORE GENERALLY REFERRING TO SOMETHING A LITTLE WRONG, CLUMSY OR TOPSY TURVY.

perspective

ALMOST ANY AWKWARD SITUATION IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CONNECTION AND USUALLY HUMOR… TWO THINGS WE ARE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT AT BRIDGET. THINK ABOUT IT! WHAT BREAKS THE TENSION OF AN AWKWARD MOMENT BETTER THAN SOMEONE JUST CALLING IT OUT? IN MANY SITUATIONS, THE BEST WAY TO CONFIDENTLY MANAGE AWKWARDNESS IS TO EMBRACE IT AND FACE IT HEAD-ON.

NEXT TIME YOU FEEL AWKWARD IN A ROOM, SMILE OR LAUGH AT YOURSELF! REALIZE THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT THE ONLY ONE. THE MOST COMMON TECHNIQUE OF GREAT COMEDIANS IS TO POINT OUT THE STRANGE THINGS IN LIFE THAT WE ALL EXPERIENCE, BUT WE DON’T REALIZE WE HAVE IN COMMON WITH OTHERS! AND LAUGHTER IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL CONNECTORS FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE RUN OUT OF LOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OR SOLUTIONS. WHEN THAT AWKWARD WORD FLOATS INTO YOUR MIND NEXT TIME, THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE W’S (WINS!) ON BOTH SIDES OF YOUR K? PICTURE YOURSELF AS A VIKING WARRIOR AND TURN YOUR SHIP BOLDLY IN THE DIRECTION OF THE DISCOMFORT!

THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY, FRIENDS. JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY FOR A NEW MEET BRIDGET EPISODE!

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