Agelast, the Last Age, and Will This Age Last?


Words are so interesting. The other day, I came across a definition of the word agelast. It would seem as if the definition would have something to do with aging, but it actually means someone who never laughs.

Since my favorite hobby is to find as much as possible to laugh about, I find the definition of agelast, as a lifelong sad sack, very ironic since life lasts better with fun in it.

Who is the Definition Czar, anyway? If I could find that person, I’d suggest a definition change to the word and maybe some others. But then, who knows? The definition of the word, “some”, or, of the word, “others“ might irritate some or other people and so some or others might never be satisfied. And who knew that there could be so many commas in one sentence?

I’ve always wondered (well, not really “always”, since “always“ really means for all times, as in past eternities, which really don’t exist in our lives. Only a period of time in memory exists, unless you’re with someone you don’t want to be with, making time seem like an eternity) how languages and definitions within them came about.

In a vain attempt to answer the question, I read about the subject and found that, after years of scholarly research, even famous linguists know nothing about the origin of language and The Tower of Babel parable may be as good an answer as any.

If only each had just written a sentence saying, “We really don’t know anything more than you do!”, I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time reading on the subject. But now that you know what I know, you can save yourselves the time I wasted and I can feel virtuous for knowing what you now know before you knew that I knew. An aside here…now that all reading this know the same thing, if you have the habit of saying “you know”, in pausing for breath between sentences, often making some listener who doesn’t have that habit (but probably has another that drives you crazy) wish language didn’t exist, you can stop saying those two words…I think you know the ones to stop saying or the people saying them.

That’s why (not because you know but because of excess wordiness…which is a redundant term), I love book reviews and, even more, book reviews of book reviews. I often feel that most books can be summed up in one sentence (or at most a paragraph or two) or even in a title…like War and Peace which is about war and peace.

Of course, if authors write one sentence books, they won’t be able to pay the rent, Barnes and Noble would just sell coffee, and Jeff Bezos would be a poor schnook, selling car parts, rather than books, in that garage.

Speaking of Barnes and Noble, Bezos, books, language, definitions, and the word with which I started this choo choo train of thought, agelast would be a great word to use in scrabble…If you’re ever challenged, you’d have the last laugh.

Audrey Biloon

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash