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Word of the Day: Ordure

Word of the Day: Ordure

This word is no longer used in modern English as far as I know. According to Etymonline.com, this word traces back to the 14th century and has roots even further back than that in latin. Ordure refers to dung, excrement, or feces. I happened to look it up when I was reading over the Thomas Jefferson quote "These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food" I selected for the About Us page. He's referring to the newspapers (read mainstream media) and comparing them to dung. I know it may be toilet humor (pun intended), but I find it humorous when I discover moments in history where we've recorded the use of these kinds of words in a more colloquial sense rather than in a the literal sense. We're given the impression that the people we revere were somehow more refined in speech and avoided such vulgarities. What we find when we pull back the veil is that people were much the same and found themselves in the same kinds of situations we find ourselves in today.

We actually see a similar kind of thing in the Bible. In Philippians 3:8 Paul uses the word σκύβαλα [skubalon] in a way that is not the literal since of the word.

More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ

If you find your self feeling the need to use a modern word for the same thing today, don't be ashamed. Think of Thomas Jefferson calling out the newspapers and have a chuckle or Paul being willing to push through pain and suffering for the hope of ever lasting life.

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Jamie Larson