For some reason, I’m seeing these words confused rather frequently. Too frequently for the heroine in one novel who was withering every time her lover had sex with her! Gads, how bad must he have felt as she shriveled up beneath him! And how lousy he must he have been as a lover!
Then there’s the character in another storyline who simply wandered off (well, what else could I assume when the author was using “whither”??), but I think they were supposed to shrivel up instead. Oopsie…
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: whither|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Adverb; Relative Adverb||Verb, intransitive & transitive||Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive
[Archaic or literary] To what place, state, condition, position, degree
To which (with reference to a place)
Shrivel up (plant, limb, skin)
Cease to flourish
Mortify someone with a scornful look or manner
[Knot theory] The number of negative crossings subtracted from the number of positive crossings in a knot
To shrink mentally, as in acute discomfort
To twist (oneself, the body, etc.) about, as in pain.
Whither are we bound?
Then there’s the nursery rhyme:
The lake, whither we were conducted.
We could drive whither we pleased.
The grass had withered to an unappealing brown.
The withered leaves lay on the ground.
The garden withered quickly as the cold set in.
There was a girl with a withered arm.
Our programs could wither away if they did not command local support.
She withered him with a glance.
“Writhe is a geometric quantity, meaning that while deforming a curve (or diagram) in such a way that does not change its topology, one may still change its writhe” (Knot Theory).
“The writhe of a minimal knot diagram is not a knot invariant, as exemplified by the Perko pair, which have differing writhes (Hoste et al. 1998”; Writhe).
She bit her lip, writhing in suppressed fury.
She writhed in embarrassment.
He writhed in agony on the ground.
She was writhing her body with abandon on the dance floor.
|Adjective: nonwithering, overwithered, unwithered, unwithering, withered, withering
Noun: witheredness, witherer
|History of the Word:|
|Old English hwider is from the Germanic base of which.||Late Middle English and apparently a variant of weather, ultimately differentiated for certain senses.||Old English wrīthan meaning make into coils, plait, fasten with a cord is of Germanic origin and related to wreathe.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!