Friday, November 19, 2010

Lou Grant Hated It

Spunk.  Frankly it sounds like something that smells bad.  How did it come to mean courage, spirit, guts?  OK, guts wouldn't smell like roses either.  Anyway, the origin of Mary's Richardson's finest, if least appreciated, quality:  spunk started out meaning tinder or kindling.  Then 'spunking up a fire' meant stirring it up, making it hotter.  From here came the concept of getting fired up with courage. In 1885 a cowboy wrote that he 'finally spunked up' when he needed to draw his gun.  We now apply spunky as kind of a diminutive of brave for kids, and in the 1970's, women.  You don't hear people call Dr. Maya Angelou spunky.  That woman is brave.

I hear America talking  p 182-183

No comments: