Word of the Day: wistful
Wistful (adjective) WIST-ful
2 : musingly sad : pensive
As the car pulled away, Lea cast one last wistful glance at the house where she’d spent so many happy years.
“The book left me in wistful reverie, envisioning that shimmering pond and a rugged, robust old gentleman in his ‘herringbone suit’ and jaunty wide-brimmed straw hat, sitting on a three-legged wooden chair in front of an easel, his brushes flying.” — Elfrieda Abbe, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 11 Sept. 2016
Did You Know?
Are you yearning to know the history of wistful? If so, we can ease your melancholy a little by telling you that wistful comes from a combination of wishful and wistly, a now obsolete word meaning “intently.” We can’t say with certainty where wistly came from, but it may have sprung from whistly, an old term meaning “silently” or “quietly.” How did the supposed transition from a word meaning “quietly” to one meaning “intently” come about? That’s something to muse about, but the answer isn’t known.
Damn, this is a perfect word to use in my books. So many of my characters find themselves yearning, pensive and melancholic. They look for something better, something that will improve their standing in the story. Some are beaten down and just need a sliver of hope. Some can direct their lives in better ways. While others wish they could, but assume that their fates are written in stone. They all have one thing in common. At times, they are wistfully thinking about the other side of the fence.
Wistful is a word that directly points to emotion. Usually, we think of emotion in human terms, but animals and even plants (IMHO) have emotions. I found a great image of Bruce Willis with a wistful, pensive expression on his face. I found the same in other people as well. I even found a meme of a pug, yearning for a scrap of food from their master’s breakfast plate.
I love the word, and I’m going to redouble my efforts to use it in my stories. I hope you enjoy them. They’re available on Amazon, B&N, your favorite eBook retailer and right here on my site. Plus, available only on my site is a short story about a Mermaid who was too curious for her own good. She has no idea what she started when she went to investigate that fishing boat floating on the surface of the sea.
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I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Do you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.
Have a great day.