language, myth


the following is from my WOTD – Word Of The Day message and appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day


Pronunciation: [‘blahr-nee]

Definition 1: (1) The gift of eloquent speech; (2) empty words, double-talk, fabrication, nonsense.

Usage 1: The first meaning of today’s word has all but faded. To express this sentiment it is better to say that someone is ‘blessed with the gift of the Blarney Stone.’ “Blarney” is used today most often to refer to deceptive flattery or exaggerated fabrication.

Suggested usage: The migration of the meaning of today’s word illustrates our skepticism of eloquent language; however, if you make it clear you are referring to articulate speech, the original meaning emerges: “Fiona got her gift of blarney from her subscription to yourDictionary’s word of the day and not from kissing a rock.” However, if you omit that qualifier ‘gift,’ the word takes on a radically different meaning, “That story of how he completed his PhD at Harvard in 2 years is pure blarney.”

Etymology: Today’s word is an eponym from Blarney Village just outside the city of Cork, Ireland. The world famous Blarney Stone is perched high up in the battlements of Blarney Castle there. The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn, depicted at the very end of Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart.’ Legend would have it be half the Stone of Scone over which Scottish Kings were crowned.

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