Sunday 4 July 2010


I've just discovered that Independence Day is not simply a Will Smith film. It is, in fact, the day on which nobody must be hanged.

The Latin pendere meant hang, and its past participle was pensum. In meant not, de meant from, sus meant down... anyway:

If you are independent you are not dependent because the only things that are dependent are pendulums and pendants which hang around your neck. Pendants are therefore pending, or indeed impending. They are, at least, suspended, and are therefore left hanging in suspense.

Weighing scales hang in the balance. Scales can weigh out gold for paying pensions, stipends and compensations in pesos (but not pence).

All such dispensations must, of course, be weighed up mentally. One must be pensive before being expensive. You must give equal weight to all arguments in order to have either equipoise or poise. If you don't your scales will hang too much to one side and you will end up with a preponderance and propensity towards your own penchants. Whether these penchants make you perpendicular, I am too polite to ask.

I hope that this post on the pendulous hung together. If it did, it was a compendium.

Right. If you frequently weigh things up you think (pensare) about them. You give people flowers to make them think about you. Florologically speaking, the traditional flower to make you pensive for a loved one is the flower in the picture which was therefore called a pensée, or, in Modern English, a pansy. (The gay sense didn't come in until a hundred years ago). By the way, I couldn't find any way to work pansies into the main post, so I had to append them in an appendix.


  1. I applaud you. Also, those are some lovely pansies.

  2. My jaw has dropped so far in awe at your erudition that it is quite pendulous!

  3. I'm glad today is not indepedant's day, or else I would have missed this lovely post.

  4. StuPENDous!!

  5. got sent here by How to Write badly well.

    Enjoying your way with words, looking forward to more.