by Anna Arnett
When I responded to Donna’s blog this evening, I started with: “How right you are, Donna. To write daily is the right way to write. Right?”
I felt so self-conscious of this play on words, I amended it to merely, “We do need to exercise our right to write.”
I'm reminded of the Aussie who, when I commented that at home we drive on the right, shot back with, "Does that make us wrong?"
I quickly answered, "No, you merely drive on the left."
Later, I pondered the various meanings of 'left':
politically left winged,
or a left-handed compliment.
So today I looked in Webster's, and smiled to see 'left' came from the Old English word 'lyft' meaning 'weak'. Then I chuckled over the primary definition: "of or on the side that is toward the west when one faces north."
Left also happens to be the past tense of leave.
Left used all of eight column lines, with fifteen more for other versions.
By then I was hooked. I simply had to look up 'right'. This same paperback, pocket-sized New World Dictionary gave seven definitions of 'right' as an adjective (with the 7th being divided into a, b, and c.); four different meanings as a noun; six as an adverb; and three definitions as a transitive verb.
Whew! Right also came from an Old English word--'riht', meaning 'straight'.
However it evolved, ‘right’ ascended way above ‘left’. Of course, lost under adjective definition number 7, 'right' is defined as 'on the east side when facing north'. Still, while ‘left’ was shortchanged, look at all the wonderful, positive definitions ‘right’ managed to collect:
mentally or physically sound,
the power or privilege under law,
the side designed to be seen,
very (in titles such as ‘the right honorable’,
to put in order,
most helpful and reliable (the president’s right-hand man)
having correct views or sound principles (right-minded)
and, of course, ‘right-of-way.
Also, don't forget 'right on’(you're right)
or 'right away'.
No wonder we strive to “Choose the Right.”