‘Behind The Mask’ by Ookami-SeaEmpress on deviantART
I’ve been thinking so long about the title of today’s post on A.W.A.D. selection and I’ve been changing it over and over again. Today’s word evokes something slimy and sneaky, duplicity, double talk. In Italian, we would use the expression “gettare fumo negli occhi”, literally to blow smoke in someone’s eyes (hence the title). This post is also about ‘Word Oddity’ (paraphrasing the title of a David Bowie’s world-famous hit) – or should I say ‘false friends’?
But please, be advised not to trust someone who tends to …
verb intr.: To be vague or ambiguous, especially in order to mislead.
From Latin aequi-/equi- (equal) + vocare (to call), from vox (voice). Earliest documented use: 1590.
“The bishop equivocates and wrings his fat hands and procrastinates.”
Susan Wiggs; At the Queen’s Summons; Harlequin; 2012.
The oddity: The word apparently recalls the Italian equivocare, but it is the exact opposite: Someone who equivocates pulls wool over someone else’s eyes, whereas someone who equivoca in Italian is de facto misunderstanding someone else’s speech, ‘receiver’ instead of ‘transmitter’ of a message. In the Italian usage, the message is ‘misinterpreted’, while in English it is expressed so as to ‘be misinterpreted’. It’s like a distortion device was located in turn in the speaker’s mouth (EN) or in the listener’s ear (IT). Funny, isn’t it?
My usual closing remark:
Words are often used as a ‘mask’. They conceal the truth to the listener’s eyes, sometimes they are a ‘brilliant disguise
‘ (as The Boss
Bruce Springsteen would say), a smokescreen casted to hide the personality of the speaker … or his lack of personality! I selected some pics, which IMO are revealing
(sorry for the joke, guys!). By the way, I would like to thank the authors of these images, all picked from deviantART: when art meets application!
for helping me express my thoughts on today’s issue. Your contribution is precious!
See you soon …