Words are funny things. They are alive in a way, and when they die their remains become fossilized in old books, ancient texts, and the preserved speeches of people who have, themselves, long since passed on. Unlike other living things, however, words can be resurrected from death and obscurity to be written and spoken anew. In this month’s writing prompt, we will be revivifying one such word—a word that is amenable to our flattery, one that speaks to the harmless avidulousness in each of us.
So what is this word that is so well-disposed to adulation? Let’s find out!
Create, describe, portray, or otherwise demonstrate the meaning or proper use of the word elozable.
Any style or medium is welcome! However, for our prose writers, setting a goal between 500 and 1500 words would probably be about right.
As a writer, I find praise exhilarating. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate constructive criticism, but there is something uniquely pleasing about being flattered by someone after a bout of hard work. One might say that I am open to compliments, and they would be right. After all, compliments are awesome, so feel free to leave me lots of them any time you want.
My penchant for being open to praise makes me elozable; in other words, I am amendable to flattery.
The word elozable finds its origins sometime in the 16th Century, probably from French roots, though its exact etymology is unclear. It is an extraordinarily rare word, though its use is beginning to rise once again if only by tiny degrees. According to Simon Hertnon, author of Endangered Words, the word elozable is approximately 50,000 times less common than the word experimentally, which should tell you something—don’t ask me what.
“This word is past obsolete,” says Hertnon. “It is dead and buried. So can we, should we, attempt to breathe life back into it? I’ll answer that question with three more: Do you know anyone who isn’t amenable to flattery? Is it more concise to say ‘elozable’ or ‘amenable to flattery’? Is there any reason why we shouldn’t attempt to breathe life back into a word that uniquely describes such a universal human quality?”
Elozable is a very cool word. Not only does it give us a way to describe something that is fundamental to everyone, the desire to be praised now and then, it also rolls off the tongue beautifully. Just say it! Doesn’t it sound great? Elozable!
Children’s author Rick Walton includes elozable in his alphabet of “Silly Sounding Words,” amongst other curiosities as fairney-cloots and paddymelon. Whether or not it is at home in this list I will leave up to your judgment.
It is an ideal word for the Holiday season. The end of the year is approaching, it’s cold, and people are under pressure. For all of the fun and festivity, there is no small amount of stress associated with this time of year, as well. Human beings are elozable, and a thoughtful compliment here and there can do a lot to make the holidays happier for someone.
There is a more callous side to our Weird Word for this month, however, which we need to consider. Flattery, says Google, can also mean “excessive and insincere praise, especially that given to further one’s own interests.” Not all compliments are thoughtful, and some are given by those who are thinking only of themselves. The meaning of amenable, too, has nuance to it. Someone who is amenable to something is open to it or welcoming, but as Google reminds us, an amenable person may also be “open and responsive to suggestion; easily persuaded or controlled.”
A perfect example of this darker interpretation of the word elozable can be found in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Not only was the Emperor open to compliments, he was easily persuaded and controlled by insincere praise. His weakness for flattery lead him to be taken advantage of. Perhaps, then, the lesson we may take from the word elozable is that things are best kept in moderation—our willingness to accept flattery being no exception.
“amenable to flattery”
(Credit: Simon Hertnon)
If you need a little creative inspiration for this prompt, try checking out this song by The Bird And The Bee. Do you think it is a good example of what the word elozable means?
The “Green Peacock” in this prompt’s featured image was handmade by the artist Elozable. You can learn more about Elozable on Tumblr, and don’t forget to check out her other work on Etsy! Seriously, it’s adorable. You need to see it.
(Featured Image: “Green Peacock” by Elozable)
(Roggen Wulf, 2014)