Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nonce – Wordplay Wednesday™ 11/08/17

♪ Live for Today! Sha la la la la ♪ 

We are often reminded to live in the present. Especially when faced with fears that await us on a daily basis.

Put your inhibitions aside. Recall fondly, the past—look forward eagerly to the future—but live for today!*

NONCE (näns) n. – the present use, occasion, or time; time being; chiefly in, for the nonce. [WW #137]

Hmmmm. The dictionary didn’t give this word any particular connotation, as in a regional dialect, or foreign expression. I rather thought it sounded like something the British would use.

Apparently though, it’s just a plain ol’ word not often heard. So here you are! Something new to amaze your friends when you slip nonce into conversation or text. (Still think it needs a British accent.)

… Hmmm, the above comment was made before I dove further into the history of nonce. Seems Wiktionary goes beyond the dictionary definition to nonce’s likely origin. “Etymology 3: Contraction of number used once.”

Okay, but above that I found my earlier inflection instincts were spot-on! “Etymology 2: Unknown. UK criminal slang. Possibly originally from dialectal nonce, nonse (“stupid, worthless individual”), or Nance, nance (“effeminate man”), from Nancy boy.” (A derogatory term that we do not condone. 
However, I’m not British, and I much prefer the standard dictionary use, for the nonce. It has a certain je ne sais
quoi… to quote the French. “For the time being” is lifeless … but for the nonce holds charm.

* In case you’re just a young’un and didn’t catch the song reference, we agreed with artists The Grass Roots 50 years ago when fans pushed their bouncy, prophetic tune “Let’s Live for Today,” up to #4 on WCFL/Chicago’s Sound 10 Survey. (June 29, 1967) In the video, vintage TV host and comedian, Jimmy Durante introduced The Grass Roots with, "They don't have a manager, they have a gardener!" Cue the drum-roll.

Word Challenge: NONCE. For those moments when you must stay put, for the nonce. Consider the advantages as you fit nonce into your week of one-and-done writings.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 



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