Daily Archives: October 30, 2008

meretrix

Lest you be tempted to think there is merit in this word’s object, be assured it is mere tricks. Those two e‘s are the heavy-lidded sloe eyes that spy you on the lamplit streetcorner; follow your eyes farther down and you see the x of fishnet-stockinged legs. Hello, sailor; call me Trixie. How can a word sound so shiny, fulgurant, coruscating, when it stands for something so often vulgar and coarse? But the word does have something of merit in its origins – merere, Latin for earning money, is the root of both meretrix and merit. And how often do we, after all, go for the superficial, the candy lip gloss, the easy endorphins? Just remember that the sirens on the corner are often followed by the sirens of the cruiser.