Well. The weekend went whizzing by for me.
And now it's Monday. And it's snowing.
Time to . . .
. . . with some flotsam and jetsam that washed up for me over the busy weekend.
"Another fall, another turned page."
--- Wallace Stegner
Yesterday morning, as I was driving to the gym, I heard a segment on NPR's Weekend Edition about the word fraught. It wasn't so much what the word fraught means . . . as how it is used -- and how that word usage is changing over time. I really wanted to share that segment with you all, but I can't find it on the NPR site! I'll try to make do on my own.
First off, here is the dictionary definition of the word (a word so common I'm sure I don't really need to include the definition, but it does make things more interesting, I think). . .
(Please note that I am not including entries 2 and 3 of 3 here. Entry 2 is using fraught as a noun, while entry 3 is using fraught as a verb. Neither of these "fraught usages" are currently in use, and neither of them are relevant for this post -- or the NPR segment.)
Most of the time I use, read, or hear the word fraught in language, it is accompanied by the prepositional phrase with, as in. . .
fraught with danger
fraught with anxiety
fraught with tension
But lately, I've noticed that some people use the word fraught all by itself. As in . . . The situation was fraught. No with involved.
And this is what the NPR segment was all about. They mentioned that the word origin of fraught was actually related to definition 3, above (the "archaic" one): laden, or freight. As in . . . loaded with. And that's how fraught with evolved in common usage -- it needed that with because it was describing being laden with something.
But now, fraught is evolving further . . . to be an acceptable, stand-alone adjective. So. If you hear the word fraught being used all by itself . . . well, relax. It's okay. Fraught is now an acceptable adjective meaning "distressed, anxious, or tense." Without a with.
Looking for a good non-fiction book to sink your teeth into? Here's a list of the 20 best works of non-fiction in the current decade. (I can personally attest to the excellence of several of the selections on the list -- and think everyone should read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.)
And . . . that's it for this Monday! I hope your week is off to a good start. (And not . . . fraught.)
PS - Be sure to join us for the Read With Us book discussion - Week 2 - over at Bonny's tomorrow!