TSGS Cruiser Blog

Friday, April 23, 2010

"What Do You Mean By That?"


Do you remember the song,

"What's it All About, Alfie?" It was the theme song of the 1966 movie "Alfie."

As I took my wife, Becky, to work this morning a song on the radio reminded me of this tune, what's it all about? The song on the radio prompted me to ask, when they say "funky music" in the song does it mean "cool, neat, hip or bad music?" or does it mean "bad music!" Becky said it meant "groovy music!" I retorted, "what do you mean by that?" Of course she meant it was really "hot" music for the time. Ok, hopefully, you get the idea - that many words have different meanings at different times and when used to express certain concepts. In our modern times, we abuse the meaning of words with what many might call "slang." Today we often will say something is bad meaning it is really good!

It is easy to mis-understand these terms or the actual meaning that is being implied. When we do our genealogy, misunderstanding the meaning of terms or phrases can mis-lead us in our research. My first encounter with such terms was the word "relict" on a tombstone. "Mary, relict of William Smith." Was Mary an "old, worn-out" mistress of William's? What did it mean? It meant that she was his widow! And it means that William died before she did!!!

Cyndi's List has many great dictionaries, glossaries, etc. to help you define the meaning of something you find during your research... here is the link to that part: http://www.cyndislist.com/diction.htm

- Written by JGWest

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