My name’s Lidia, what’s yours?


The pharisee vs the prodigal by Paul Kitchener

Good morning, folks!

Nice to meet you today! Strange name for a post, isn’t it? Well, the reason behind my choice is the subject of A.Word.A.Day. weekly selection. Eponyms. Words after person’s names. Surely no word will be coined after my name. Instead, my name comes from a province of the Iron Age period located in Asia Minor (Lydia) – funny, Lydia was known to have (probably) invented coins in the 7th century BC.  At least, according to the Greek historian Herodotus. I don’t even know if I must consider this fact as predicting fortune (wealth) or misfortune (coins are often low-value money) to me. Let’s be optimistic, it may be a good omen, considering that one of Lydia’s kings was no less than Croesus, the symbol of richness. Who knows, after all Uncle Scrooge made a fortune piling up cents!

Today’s word comes directly from a Dickens novel, Martin Chuzzlewit: this might be a good start, if only the character bearing this name were not so …


adjective: Pretending to have high moral principles; sanctimonious, hypocritical.
After Seth Pecksniff, a character in Charles Dickens’s novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Earliest documented use: 1844.
Charles Dickens describes Pecksniff like this: “Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there.”
“She said, ‘Davis, stop being such a Pecksniffian stuffed shirt.'”
Jay Inman; Sunigin; WestBow Press; 2012.
“In the meantime, the pecksniffian French consul was feigning indignation.”
Bob Stockton; Fighting Bob; AuthorHouse; 2011
ITALIAN TRANSLATION: (agg.) bigotto m. (f. -a), (colloq) bacchettone m. (f. -a)

I don’t like my name too much. In my country, it’s an outmoded name, it recalls the period of fascism, it’s not much used today. I shouldn’t hold my name in so low regard, though. I was named after a Saint, after all. Lydia of Thyatira. She is referred to as the first convert of Christianity in Europe. An example of righteousness and devotion to God. A good Christian. According to Orthodox Church, even Equal to the Apostles. What an honour! And … what a contrast with that Pecksniff guy! Considering, I’m proud of my name …

A few words about the illustration: First of all, let me explain my choice. In Italy we use the word fariseo to mean someone who’s basically hypocritical, much more interested in ‘form’ than in ‘substance’. When I came to decide the keyword of my search, the first word that crossed my mind was ‘fariseo’. Pharisee. I didn’t know if this term has the same meaning in English, but … who cares? After all, the choice is mine, who should I be accountable to?

This artwork is called The Pharisee vs the Prodigal, don’t ask me why. I liked it at first glance (I love tangles) and I decided to use it in spite of the fact that most of you might not see the connection. After looking for the details of its author – as I usually do – I found out that this young boy – Paul Kitchener – is committed to a humanitarian cause, correction, he supports his sister Abby, who’s actively involved in a humanitarian organization called Operation Mobilization in Africa. He raises funds for OM by selling his artworks online. I don’t know if the fundraiser is genuine or if it’s still active, I found a link to his website dedicated to this cause, though the most recent post dates back to almost a couple of years ago. I also took a look to his personal blog and I had the impression that the guy was sincere in his effort. I thought: today’s word does not apply to him. At least, it apparently doesn’t. So the choice is an antonym and a synonym of the word at the same time. An oddity, isn’t it? Well, it’s not up to me to decide whether this fund is reliable and is worth a donation, if you want, take a look and decide. I still trust in mankind, so I hope it’s … trustworthy!

Love and peace, my dear readers!

Your passionate (Italian) Translator


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