Don We Now Our Contracted Apparel

Here’s some Christmas fun for you, my dear inklings!

Everybody always picks on the word “gay” in the familiar Christmas tune “Deck The Halls,” so I thought I’d share something with you concerning one of the other words in the song.

As I was piddling around with Elevator People, my low sci-fi WIP, I clicked over to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary to look up the word “doff.” And what to my wondering eyes should appear but the definition of “doff” (which I already knew, of course) and the following:

Origin of DOFF:

Middle English, from to do + off

Well. Isn’t that something.

But wait, there’s more!

It turns out that “don,” that thing we do with our happy apparel in “Deck the Halls,” comes from to do + on!

I love language so much. It flips my bangerang switch and swings my verge. Also, it makes me happy.

So, the next time you’re donning your clothing or doffing your cap, remember that you’re really doing these articles of wear on and off. Just be sure that in your stunned amazement at the versatility of the English language, you don’t end up doing your clothing off in a place where people aren’t supposed to see you.

Happy Christmas Season, y’all!

4 thoughts on “Don We Now Our Contracted Apparel

  1. Rob Adams says:

    “Everybody always picks on the word ‘gay’ in the familiar Christmas tune ‘Deck The Halls,’…”

    Really? If so, your post is both a great testament to the versatility of the English language as well as a warning as to what can happen when it’s abused.

    As for me, I shall continue to don my gay (festive) apparel during the Christmas season.

    • Hey Rob! Thanks for coming back for a visit and a comment. I appreciate it. : )

      When I say that people pick on the word “gay” in “Deck the Halls,” I’m thinking of a news report just a few weeks ago about a Michigan teacher who changed the lyrics to “don we now our bright apparel” because the children were giggling too much.

      Me, I’m fine with “gay apparel” or “bright apparel,” either one. But it kind of seems like a missed opportunity to teach something about language…and maybe even about loving one another in spite of differences.

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