Feb 14, 2011

WORD OF THE WEEK: Endearment

Summary: Learn, on Valentine's Day, about the history of the word endearment. Plus, share your favorite funny-but-endearing terms! And get 10 much-needed tips for speaking to the opposite sex by following the e-newsletter link.

It's Valentine's Day again—and that means love songs on the radio, flower deliveries to your co-worker's desk (oh, how she gloats every year), and that one bitter friend donning all black in protest. People's emotions are all over the place, triggered by their Facebook statuses of "single," "in a relationship" and "it's complicated."

But you're married. And, although you often wonder why Facebook forgot to add, "of course, it's complicated" behind the "married" status, you actually like Valentine's Day in a more genuine way than your single friends and acquaintances seem to: For you and your partner, it means a day of personal gestures, like cards and candy, and the exchange of some terms of endearment that often get forgotten throughout the rest of the year. Suddenly, "Pass me the salt," over breakfast becomes, "Pass me the salt, sugar" with a wink. And while it may not feel like you're dating all over again, at least there's an air of courtship and a concern for each other's feelings.

Incidentally, I happened to launch my electronic newsletter today. The subject (but of course) is gender speak. It's directed right at you, Mr. or Mrs. Married—with some helpful tips on how to keep that endearing communication going all year round. If you aren't a subscriber, you can read it online: Gender Speak—10 Tricks for Speaking to the Other Sex.

Oh, and if you aren't married, guess what? It doesn't matter what your Facebook status is. You can still benefit from 9 of the 10 tips listed in this month's e-newsletter article.

... And now, a message for those of you whose hearts (like mine) are dedicated to the love of WORDS: How many terms of endearment do you know? I'll jumpstart the list with sweetheart, honey, baby, lover, love, sunshine, precious, babycakes, honey bear, sugar bear, doodlebug, little mama, big papa, big daddy ... You get the idea! And if the idea you're getting is, "That's weird," you're kind of right. The words we pick to convey endearment are typically personal. (I once had a boyfriend I called, "Turtle.") As the Day of Love comes to a close, I'd love to know more this week about the strangest or most unique words of endearment that you've ever used or overheard ...

Endearment (IN - DEER - ment) - (n.) a word or an act, such as a caress (or the giving of a greeting card) that expresses affection; also, the process of endearing, as in, "His endearment to the company was obvious at his retirement party." First used in the early 1600s, the word is a combination of the word dear and the prefix en- for "to make," as well as the suffix -ment which makes it a noun. Its word origins are German, French and Old English.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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