Friday, March 26, 2010

Word For The Day: teetotalism

Continuing our theme for this week, teetotalism is the practice of, or promotion of, complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages.  We all know that - but what a strange word!  Etymology: either from an 1832 or 1833 meeting of the Preston Temperance Society, wherein member Dicky Turner (who had a "stammer") said in a speech that nothing would do except "tee-tee-total abstinence", or (more likely) from England about the same time, when "T-total" was used in other contexts as an emphasized form of total.  Apparently it is unlikely that the term is simply derived from some misspelling of "tea" in combination with "total" which your humble scribe has always erroneously assumed.  Nephalism is a synonym for teetotalism (no, we're not going there today).  As an aside, "on the wagon" ("not drinking alcohol these days") is an abbreviation of "on the water wagon", another revelation to yours truly - because I had always thought people just fell "off the wagon" because they were too inebriated to hang on to the wagon.  Now the question is, should California legalize, regulate and tax marijuana to eliminate its sovereign-nation-like debt and fund things like healthcare?  Take the poll at the bottom of the page.