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The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge: T is for Thing

Monday, 23 April 2012

My posts in the The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge are all about interesting words. Words that are weird, intriguing, poetic or just plain cool ...

T is for Thing

The most common meaning of thing is pretty obvious. A thing is, well, just a thing.

But in Old Norse the word also refers to an assembly of the people. People gathered at a thingstead to discuss new laws in what was, effectively, the first form of democracy. The oldest parliament in the world is Iceland's Althing. The oldest continuous parliament in the world (since Iceland had a break) is Tynwald on my own Isle of Man. Tynwald basically means "field of the thing". Which, now that I think about it, would make a great title for a story ...

The more common English word "husting" also dervies from this meaning of thing.

Archaeopteryx Blunderbuss Chthonic Dreadnought Entropy Fulgurite Gargantua Humbucking Ichthyic Juggernaut Kappa Labyrinthine Megrim Numinous Ophidian Pandemonium Quark Ragnarök Shibboleth Thing


  1. I had no idea! I'm fascinated by old place names though, so many old languages contributed. I do use a place names dictionary for character surnames, too.

  2. Rebecca - They fascinate me, too.

  3. Yay for making "thing" most fascinating! Take care

  4. You come up with the most interesting tidbits Simon. Another great post!

  5. You are right, it would make an excellent title for a book. Won't quite look at the work "thing" the same way.

  6. I think we should have kept the old meaning and dropped thing. Thing is such a useless word. The way language changes is interesting. When I took Russian, my professor, who was from Soviet Russia, told me not to use a Russian word I learned in childhood, as it was a bourgeois word, but to use another.

  7. loverforwords - Fair point; the "assembly" meaning is so much richer.

  8. Never knew there was so much more to 'thing.'

  9. Nicole - Often the way with the little words, I find.

  10. H Simon .. ah a few things here - the comprehension of Tynwald and your place of residence .. that must be nice and different.

    Husting is a parliamentary thing! isn't it .. ?

    .. gosh we (or I) use that T word very often ..

    Cheers Hilary


I'd love to know what you think.