If you’ve been hanging around my blog since 2011 (there are a few of you–you know who you are, LOL), then you may remember that I’ve featured this word before. And you may remember it solely because it was first ever Word of the Week.

But since so many of my readers have changed, I thought it would be fun to travel back in time 7.5 years and share again the word that started it all on my blog! I’d looked it up partly out of curiosity, to see which of the two meanings had come first, and was so surprised by what I’d learned that I shared it on Facebook. Where my friends were also so surprised that they suggested I start a blog with such things. Who knew it would still be going strong now?

So, pedestrian.

We all know its two meanings: “dull, prosaic,” and “someone who travels by foot.”

My patented Roseanna-logic insisted that the “walker” definition ought to have come first, given that it has ped (=foot) in the root.

But no! Its first recorded use is in 1716, where it meant “dull, prosaic,” in reference to literature. Why? Because if a piece of writing was “of the foot” then it was clearly as opposite as it could be of what it ought to have been–“of the mind.”

It wasn’t until the 1790s that it took on its more literal meaning of someone traveling by foot. Largely because by this time the primary adjective was already well in use and it just made sense. Also, because it did contrast nicely with equestrian.

So there you go, a look back for all you newcomers of where the blog series began. 😉

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