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I'M BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK !!!
SAGE - SAW - SAYING - ADAGE
Copyright: 10/05/07 - Tom Hyland
So, just what is an old saw? Well, it’s not that old rusty tool in the garage with dull teeth on it. You know, the one that used to belong to your grandfather, or maybe even your dad. I have two of those, which I cleaned up, and painted scenes on with acrylic paint. They’ve been hanging on my walls for years. They are literal, physical saws. Rather, we are talking about something else, dealing more with Linguistics.
An old SAW is a Saying, or Truism that once upon a time was popular, became outdated, but still holds true , years and years later. Why was it called a saw? Could the reason be that the moral, or premise stated CUT to the chase? Or got directly to the point? Or went deeply to the bone?
Consider if you would: Time and Tide wait for no man! Waste not - want not! A penny saved is a penny earned! A cut dog has no pups! Look before you Leap! Watch your back! (a modern version now is, CYA…)
As a brief sampling, these are all truisms that can just as easily be applied today, as they were centuries ago. You might say that they have withstood the ravages of time, or outlasted the test of time. Some saws or sayings are so old, that we no longer know the sources.
Many others were captured on paper somewhere, were cited, or used as references, and can be traced back to the original author or speaker. These are known as quotations, and are usually referenced verbatim. This process of acknowledging a source, not only gives credit where credit is due; but also protects us from being accused of Plagiarism, a form of stealing!
Then again, sometimes we like what someone else said, but we change it slightly, adding a new twist, or applying the principle to a different situation, or to emphasize our own idea, and… BINGO! … We call it a paraphrase.
Is there technically any difference between a Saying, Saw, or Adage? Quite frankly, I don’t have a clue! And for purposes of this lowly treatise, that invariably will never make any prestigious Journal, I really don’t care either! Don’t get the wrong impression here… I’m not being cavalier about this concept, just practical. That is. I am too lazy right now to stop, go to GOOGLE, and do painstaking research, okay? Suppose that there are some minor, vague differences, but … IN A HUNDRED YEARS IT WON’T MATTER, will it? That’s another of my personal, all-time favorites!
Another goody is: That’s the greatest invention since SLICED BREAD… or since CANNED BEER! While these are certainly more modern in their young age, they really capture the emphasis, don’t they? The implication is that we really, really, really like something, to the superlative degree!
I have always been one of those OLD FOGIES who constantly uses such old saws, sayings, or adages. Does that fact make me a Sage? IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO! But could be?
If we pluralize AGE by adding an S, to reach AGES, then transpose the S back to the front of the word… VOILA! We are left with the word SAGE! Is this not a person, usually “up in years” or AGED, who has had the benefit of both time and experience to garner a respectable measure of Wisdom? Thusly, prone to frequently spout such “Pearls of Wisdom?”
Also, ponder another linguistic phenomenon - if we take the original word AGE again, use it as the ROOT, or BASE of another word, then apply the prefix, AD, which is a Latin word meaning TO, or FROM, the resulting term becomes ADAGE… from age! Isn’t our language just splendiferous?
SO SAYETH THE SOOTHSAYER!
Pray tell, just what is a SOOTH? Again, I must proclaim both my ignorance as well as my lackadaisical laconism! Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall!
SAGE, SAW, SAYING, ADAGE… Whimsical? Perhaps! FRUIT LOOP? Probably! Nonsensical? DEFINITELY!
BUT… and, I have a cute, little one too! Oh, that would need another T, wouldn’t it? But, has there been at least a miniscule need for you to open your mind a bit, and actually THINK? REASON? PONDER? Consider the verity, or lack thereof?
TO BE… OR NOT TO BE… THAT… IS THE QUESTION!
Does not the addition of the suffix, ION, when added to the word QUEST, which means SEARCH, not give us the definition, a search for an ANSWER?
This somehow, unbeknownst to me, brings us back to our language, and linguistics again. Every word has a base, or root. Then, by applying either a prefix, or suffix, we can expand upon its meaning, definition, or even connotation. The cognitive ability to affect language… to present alternative concepts… to invent, or rather, COIN new words… Is that not some formidable power? Can it not be sometimes intriguing? Let us consider yet a few more sayings:
WHAT MIRACLE HATH GOD WROUGHT? Do you know this source? I do! If you don’t, then LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING! Know that one? I do!
Way, way back in the GOOD OLD DAYS, that was the logo of the YELLOW PAGES. In today’s world, only those who are computer illiterate still use such a tool to find ANSWERS. Those of us who are somewhat more SAGE in our endeavors have supplanted that old QUESTIONING device with a newer, more modern, faster tool… GOOGLE!
If that isn’t the BEST THING SINCE CANNED BEER, then I don’t know what is!
WORD PLAY… RHYMING - POETRY - PROSE - COMMUNICATION - EXCHANGE OF IDEAS - CHALLENGING ONE’S CEREBRAL FACULTIES - isn’t it MAGNIFICENT?
Just for fun, this little DITTY came to mind:
“I saw Esau, sittin’ on a seesaw, I saw Esau, with my girl, givin’ her a merry whirl. When I saw Esau, he saw me, I saw red and got so sore, so I got a saw and I sawed Esau off that old seesaw!”
I have no idea who the author was, but is that not just PRECIOUS?
Now, there’s another great example of flexibility - by inserting just two additional letters within, CO - we have a totally different word, with a totally different meaning, which defines Esau’s state of mind - PRECOCIOUS! Or, another slight change, inserting the letters PIT - give us PRECIPITOUS, defining Esau’s action!
Another factor which intrigues me to no end about our English, or American language is that it contains so many, many FOREIGN words: Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, as well as others, perhaps not as preponderant, but nevertheless, there. Is it therefore not also self-evident that, WE THE PEOPLE, in this nation, are considered THE MELTING POT OF THE WORLD - when our ROOTS are mostly from ELSEWHERE?
SAGE AGED REASONING? OR JUST A SAW?
HOW NOW BROWN COW ART THOU?
I USED TO LAUGH, TO SEE A CALF, WALK DOWN THE PATH, A MILE AND A HALF, TO TAKE A BATH!
As the CHURCH LADY on SNL used to SAY: “Isn’t THAT just SPECIAL?”
I may be a ROOK - a castle to a chess-player, or a blackbird to an older English aviculturist, who once wrote to his American counterpart: “BRED ANY GOOD ROOKS LATELY?” A very apropos PUN, no less!
Well --- MY FELLOW AMERICANS… I AM NOT A CROOK!
I may be crooked with AGE, all bent and distorted… or crooked as a dishonest SAGE, SAYING ADAGES that are untruths… or a crooked barrel, on an old SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN… or a WEIRDO with a crooked, warped sense of humor --- but, I AIN’T NO FRIGGIN’ CROOK!
So, Pilgrims, as I close this attempt at informative witticisms, LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT ---
Watch which words one warily wants… “FOR WANT OF A NAIL…”
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE … Choose your words cautiously, and keep plenty of SALT handy; for you never know when you may be forced to EAT THEM!