A homely word for a less homely style of discourse. Indeed, the homilist in his homiletics may hit some home truths, but likely not in a homy manner or context. It is, after all, a speaking to an assembled throng: Greek homilos means “crowd.” Specifically, it’s speaking to them for their spiritual edification. And why do I say “his homiletics”? Not because of the misleading hom at the beginning – it is not a word by nature reserved exclusively for hombres – but because this word is particularly preferred in Catholic circles, and Catholic priests cannot but be male. It is, however, also used by Anglicans and a few other denominations; the rest of the Christian churches tend to prefer sermon. But certainly there is a difference in taste between homily and sermon! The calming hum of hom (almost ho-hum), the overtones of humility, perhaps the corn and grit of hominy, even that little echo of the land where Puff the Magic Dragon frolicked, all give a smoothness to the piety; the ascenders and dot lend a visual variety. Level-topped sermon, on the other hand, echoes stiff sir and medicinal serum, and its cultural overtones and various uses can give it a real flavour of stern, finger-pointing, didactic moralizing. The blended notes of salmon and vermin may not make the tongue tingle too happily either. Beyond this, homily also comes more calmly in part because it is much less used than sermon – in the realm of 1/6 to 1/12 as often, depending on where you count. I will offer the additional personal impression (very unscientific) that homilies tend to be shorter than sermons, too.
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- Pronunciation tip: waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals, forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail
- 365 words for drunk
- An article title, "An article title 'An article title needs commas' needs commas," needs commas
- I plight thee my troth
- When does the new decade begin?
- To be, or not to be, that is the question
- turn the other cheek
- confident in or about?
- Can a metaphor be hyperbole too?
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes