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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Origins - Spunk

Origins is a recurring past in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

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Today's word is: Spunk

My research says it comes from the Scottist Gaelic word spong, meaning tinder which in turn comes from the Latin spongia, meaning sponge. Touchwood, a common kindling, looked like sponge and so the Scots called it spong. Another word for this kind of tinder is punk (which has evolved into a different meaning as well.) In Irish the word was sponc.

So how do we get from spong to spunk? It goes something like this. A Scot is trying to light his fire using spong (touchwood) sparks fly and the spong (or punk) is ignited.

By the 1530's spong had taken on the meaning of "a spark." But it wasn't until the mid 1770s it came to mean mettle, courage, or pluck.

At some point spong and punk became spunk meaning a person who has passion, spirit, or fire which relates right back to spark.

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I like the word spunk. It's short and quick, leaping out of the mouth just like a spark.

Writers need spunk. We need to have fire and passion to keep doing something where the odds are stacked so much against us.

So put on your spunk and keep on truckin'.

Do you have a piece of clothing or an object that epitomizes spunk?

Do you think you have spunk?

Do you know a spunky person?

14 comments:

  1. Interesting how the word came about. I know several people with spunk. I'm probably not one of them though.

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  2. I have no spunk. That's for a younger me ;) Love the origin of the word.

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  3. My nickname isn't Spunky for nothing! My husband says I am a ball of nervous energy.

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  4. Hmmm. Occasionally I've been known to demonstrate snippets of spunk. The operative word here though, is "occasionally."

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  5. I just learnt a new word :)

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  6. I love this word too, and named a skunk after it ... alas, I had to change it because in the UK it means something else (not appropriate for kids). Good editors are worth their weight in gold ...

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  7. I loved finding out the origin of this word! I like the word spunk quite a bit. I definitely am a spunky person. I know a few other people who fit the definition well. :)

    ~Jess

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  8. Hi Bish
    Love the word spunk, however I'm laid back and wouldn't consider myself to be spunky. Thanks for stopping by. I can't post much at the moment but I do appreciate my blogging friends.
    Nancy

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  9. This is interesting, Bish. I love the word spunk and can be spunky. Sometimes too spunky. : )

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  10. Diane is the only Spunk I need! :)

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  11. Now, who woulda thunk this was the origination of spunk? That's so cool that you researched it and wrote this post. I, too, love the word spunk. And even more on the days when I'm feeling spunky. How I live for those days! You're right, we writers need plenty of spunk.

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  12. Hi! I've been doing a little blog-hopping this morning and I'm here via DL Hammond's blog. I love this post about spunk! I wrote having spunk on my blog a year or so ago, so this really piqued my interest! Nice to meet you and I'm sure I'll be back!

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  13. Hello! Found the post interesting. I don't seem to have any spunk these days.
    : )

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  14. It's interesting how that word came about. I love that word. I believe I have it but don't always show it.

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!