Word of the Day – May 11, 2012

beggar (verb)

BE guhr

to make something seem inadequate or useless

Though Sedona, Arizona, was founded in 1902, Zane Grey, the hardworking western novelist, was the first writer to “discover” it, in the 1920s. Landscape on the Arizona scale challenges the resources of human speech; it beggared Grey, who had to resort to stilted terms from the construction industry to describe the mighty cliffs of the Grand Canyon: “Turrets, mesas, domes, parapets, and escarpments gave the appearance of an architectural work of giant hands.” To use such language for the vastness of these badlands is to commend the horse in the lingo of the horsefly. There’s an old story that a priest and a cowboy arrived together at the canyon’s North Rim and stood silent a while. Finally the priest fell upon his knees and exclaimed, “O Lord, how wonderful are thy works!” The cowboy ruminated, spat, and muttered, “Don’t it beat hell?”
Peter Davison     October 1997

… from More Words That Make A Difference

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