Mar 8, 2010

WORD OF THE WEEK: Not So Untenable (Or Is It?)

Summary: Learning new words—like this week's featured vocab word, untenable—often puts them in the forefront of your mind. You'll probably start to hear them again and again everywhere you go. If you do, just what does that mean?

Yesterday, I heard one of my favorite words in a news program—untenable, a word I haven't heard in quite awhile, but that I fully expect to hear once or twice more in the coming weeks, now that it's back in my consciousness.

Untenable (UN - TEN - a - bil) - (adj.) a weak, shaky, unsupportable or indefensible point of view; not likely. This word is first noted in use in the English language in 1647, and is derived from the original Latin tenere, meaning "to hold, to keep."

Has this ever happened to you? You hear a word that catches your ear—or better yet, learn a new word—and suddenly it's cropping up everywhere. What does it mean? Is your psyche subconsciously trying to tell you something? Are you a subtle but powerful influence on the world around you, possibly telepathically creating desired outcomes with your thoughts? Maybe you're at one with the cosmic consciousness in a deeper way than most of your fellow humans? Or maybe you're just plain crazy?!

Well, you can certainly drive yourself crazy thinking too hard about something that's really just coincidental. The fact is, our brains are hard-wired to seek out patterns; what other thoughts we have about these patterns once we find them is really personal.

The phenomenon of learning something new and then hearing or seeing it everywhere around you is known as Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Colloquially, the synchronicity of inner thoughts with external world experiences is called "plate of shrimp" after some dialogue in the movie Repo Man that references this. Both are more common than your brain may initially think.

Do you possess magic powers to psychically influence or connect to the world? Maybe. But it's pretty untenable.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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