Obviously a sober-minded young lady 😉
One of the words my editor said was distracting in Ring of Secrets was “sober.” I used it a couple times instead of “serious,” which is, of course, valid. Which she knew. But the modern definition… 😉
I decided to look it up and found that the dual definitions of “temperate” and “not drunk” go back to the original Latin sobrius. The prefix, from se- means “without”, and ebrius is “drunk.” This is a pretty logical correlation, since temperance and drunkenness are rather exclusive. So the opposites have also been drawn together pretty much forever.
In English, sober has meant “grave, serious, solemn” since the 1300s. By the mid-14th century it had edged toward “moderate, temperate,” and “abstaining from strong drink.” Now, that “abstaining” makes me think that it didn’t speak to one’s state at a particular moment, but rather to one’s habit. It wasn’t until the late 14th century that it narrowed to “not drunk at the moment.” Still, of course, carrying that meaning of “grave, serious, solemn, moderate.” 😉
Interestingly, the verb form (usually paired with “up”) didn’t come about until 1820.
Oo, and I learned a new name to call somebody who’s a little too sedate or serious! Sobersides. Yep. My newest go-to for name calling, LOL. 😉

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