There used to be a feature on Saturday Mornings with Kim Hill where a man would discuss the origins of words, where they came from, what they meant. It was always fascinating to listen to, diving into the past through a single word. See words, no matter how we mistreat them, how we throw them around willy nilly or without understanding them are like little people. They contain stories and secrets and pasts.
I have huge admiration for people who know how to play with words well. Who can use innuendo and wordplay cleverly as if a second nature. I’m not going to claim to be one of those people. But I do love words. The look, the sound. So I’m going to dabble in brief spatterings of etymology. I doubt that I will share anything profound but sometimes it’s nice to just take a step back and look at a word for what it is. On its own. Free from the trappings of a sentence.
So it feels appropriate to dive into this new idea with the word….
The word microcosm has it’s origins in the medieval Latin word microcosmus, from the Greek mikros (small and kosmos – world). An early version of the word, myrcrocossmos was in use from c.1200 whereas microcosm as it now stands has been in used since the early 15th Century. A microcosm is a miniature world. It conjures up ideas of being ant sized beings in the petri dish of an astronomically large alien race or of burning ants with a magnifying glass. Of Sea Monkeys, of Zoos, of literature, novels, films. And then there is the feel of the word as you roll it around your mouth.
I like you.