Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 22, 2015 – Coinkydink: Hand of Fate

Okay, we know COINKYDINK (co-inky-dink) is not a real word – but we also react to the cutesy coined term with a knowing chuckle.

Today’s Wordplay Wednesday #22 falls on the 22nd day of July. Coinkydink? Do you believe in coincidences?

COINCIDENCE (kō inꞋ sɘ dɘns; aka COINKYDINK) n. accidental and remarkable occurrence of events or ideas at the same time, suggesting but lacking a causal relationship. [Causal, m’dears, not casual. Oooooh, so close.]

Deviating from our usual unusual words list, coincidence is an interesting expression to explore, and more controversial than you might think, for one so ingrained in the English language. Are we tempting the hand of fate? ...

Some would call it fate, happenstance, or even synchronicity. “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.” Carl Jung, 1875-1961.

In a quick online search (yeah, I know, not exactly scientific), confusion reigns over its origin and absolute definition, and apparently there is no word for coincidence in Hebrew …? (Someone with real knowledge care to comment?)

Yet, according to it is said to come from biblical times. “The word coincidence is used only once in the New Testament, and it was by Jesus Himself in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10:31, Jesus said, ‘And by a coincidence a certain priest was going down in that way, and having seen him, he passed over on the opposite side.’ The word coincidence is translated from the Greek word synkyrian, which is a combination of two words: sun and kurios. Sun means ‘together with,’ and kurious means ‘supreme in authority.’”

As the mathematicians and scientists among you will attest, although the current meaning is somewhat abstract, coincidences have a long history in mathematical elements.

The American Journal of Philology addressed “The History of Coincide and Coincidence,” in its first year of publication. Suggesting that these words originated in philosophy, “… seem to have passed into the vocabulary of scholarly English writers during the first half of the XVII century, and at a time almost coincident with this, that is during the great revival of mathematical study in England …”

The Journal’s article followed its mathematical journey through the XVIII century “…down to the coincident death of [former Presidents] Adams and Jefferson on the 4th of July, 1826 …” (Vol. 1, No 3 1880).

However, in our inimitable colloquial way, we couldn’t let such a serious word remain so austere – and coinkydink was born.
Example: Reportedly, to achieve the perfect rumpled look for Professor Marvel of MGM’s original, iconic, Wizard of Oz movie, costumers perused a local thrift store and scored a delightfully shabby coat. Laugh of the day – the coat had originally belonged to L. Frank Baum – the story’s author.

So be aware – coinkydinks are everywhere! May all yours be “happy coincidences.”


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