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sally

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.

sally

Postby sardith » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:17 pm

I am familiar with the more common uses of this word, sally, but have recently seen the definition related to: imagination, or the power to create in one's mind.
What I am wondering is if this is one of those situations the Doc talks about, where part of a definition has fallen out of usage over time?
Does anyone have any thoughts?
And in the meantime, would you please stick this one in the queue for Goodword articles? I'd love to see what you'd have to say, Doc.
Thanks,
Sardith :mrgreen:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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Re: sally

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:51 pm

Been meaning to tell you, Sardith, to a sometime writer like me, your Twain quote is like a beacon!

Which focuses me on "like me." Propper would be "as I am," but that sounds pedantic. Many teachers eschew "like," but the ungrammatical cliche sounds right here.
pl
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Re: sally

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:50 pm

Sally is a pretty big topic. It’s root meaning is to rush or leap forward. This goes all the way back to PIE with an unchanged meaning.

Somewhere along the way the English “improved” the word by making a phrase “sally forth”. Since one wouldn’t sally back or sideways, the word “forth” seems redundant to me. I never use it. It could be used in a poem or as a double entendre. Sally Forth is a cartoon in the newspaper where the young woman’s first name is Sally and her last name is Forth. It is her name and also her personality.

Sally as a feminine name comes from the Hebrew name Sarah. In my mother's day some girls were called Sal. Not a nice sounding name to my thinking. This usage is outside the scope of this discussion.

Sally expanded into the purpose of the sally. Most notable is the quick thrust of some soldiers out of a fort to attack the besieging enemy. It is a synonym for a sortie. It can also mean to ambush as when Marion, the Swamp Fox, rushed out of the Georgia swamps to attack and then retreat from the English during the American Revolution. (As you might expect from me, one of my ancestors, whose name was Meek, is reported to have been one of Marion’s men.) This is quite a literal and obvious use of the word.

Sally has expanded to less military examples of thrusting forward. In this sense one can sally forth to Macy’s to return unwanted Christmas gifts. One can simply go on any excursion.

Such physical outbursts naturally lead to symbolic outbursts. The key to a witticism, a quip, or a joke being a sally is that it must be a quick repartee. If you are slow to “catch on” you cannot sally mentally. Here, Sardith, is where your sense of sally being related to imagination and creative power comes in. So the answer to your question is yes.

A sally can also be an issuance of verbal assault, so not all symbolic sallies are pleasant.

I believe sally can be used under any definition as a verb (intransitive only?) and a noun.

A bell rope can also be called a sally, from the same PIE root. A Sally who is a member of the Salvation Army has a different etymology, unless you are considering the aggressive nature of the movement. William Booth was pretty aggressive against sin and social injustice. See Vachel Lindsay’s “General William Booth Enters Into Heaven" for a tribute to this great humanitarian.

Sally port means a secure entrance and exit. I believe I have read the signs “Sally Port” and “Sally Porte”, meaning “exit”, in airport terminals. It has been a while since I was a traveler and my memory might not serve me.

I have exhausted myself, so I am unable to make any further sally.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: sally

Postby sardith » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:35 am

Thank you, Mr. Hudson.
That was quite an exhaustive list and very much appreciated.

Sardith :mrgreen:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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