Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Above Arondel, evening; Moos with Mol.

The dogs, stand-offish and disinclined earlier, are eager and bounding in the cool evening, turning to look at me through the long grass with fey white grins in black shaggy faces.


Bee said...

Fey is an interesting choice of word here. It has several meanings: which do you mean?

We had a horrid, wet day here. Minstrel, my cat, wouldn't deign to go outside!

Lucy said...

Mmm, I think I meant slightly uncanny and wild and mischievous; they were turning and grinning at me then skittering off, they seemed slightly otherworldly in the evening light. However, I've just checked 'fey', and perhaps it's not right, perhaps I simply mean 'impish'. 'Attuned to the supernatural' is one meaning my dictionary gives, which is perhaps the nearest to what I meant. Also though, there is an older Scottish sense of 'in a state of high spirits or unusual excitement', which in truth I didn't actually know.

I think I am confusing the meaning with 'fay', which is simply like a fairy or a sprite, but the two words are quite different. 'Fey' comes from an Old English word meaning 'marked out for death', people were supposed to become oddly high spirited, and attuned to the supernatural, at this time - especially perhaps dour Scots who weren't inclined otherwise to be high spiritied and euphoric! 'Fay', like 'fairy', is originally from the same root as 'fate', relating to otherworldly beings.

Fascinating, you have caused me to learn new things by discovering my error! And in passing, I found that 'faineant' which was the French word I was going to use to describe the dogs' attitude earlier, but didn't because I think overuse of French words is a little lazy and pretentious, is a word in English too!

Bee said...

Well, I've never even HEARD of the word "faineant" -- which I just looked up! Interestingly, it seems that one may use it either as a noun or an adjective -- same spelling!

I may start calling my children no-good faineants!

But back to "fey:" a lot of Americans use this word to describe "gay" (in the sense of male homosexual) behaviour. Have you heard this usage? It isn't in my dictionary . . . only the definitions you've discussed.