While reading “My Father’s Stack of Books” by Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker, I came across her description of her father as an “epic raconteur.” I stopped. Word bliss settled in. “Raconteur.” I hadn’t thought of that word for a while. Don’t you love it when you encounter an old friend? A word that you admire for its meaning and its sound and the feelings it stirs inside you?
Merriam Webster says this about the etymology of “raconteur”: The story of raconteur is a tale of telling and counting. English speakers borrowed the word from French, where it traces back to the Old French verb raconter, meaning “to tell.” Raconter in turn was formed from another Old French verb, aconter or acompter, meaning “to tell” or “to count,” which is ultimately from Latin computare, meaning “to count.” Computare is also the source of our words count and account. Raconteur has been part of the English vocabulary since at least 1828.
I will express my gratitude for the meaning of words, the sound of words, and the origins or words more than once during this Year of Gratitude. They are one of the greatest pleasures of my life.
Do you have a word you’ve re-discovered recently?