Word Nerd Wednesday: Gentrification

Lest you fear I am insulting your intelligence, dear readers, let me explain myself. I  know that we all know, by now, what the word gentrification means. It’s become a household term over the past 10 years. On the off chance that there is someone reading who isn’t quite sure what the word means, let’s start this discussion with a definition:

gentrification, noun: The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier usually poorer residents.

This post isn’t about my thoughts on the subject of gentrification. To begin to try and untangle my overlapping and complex perspectives on the subject is not in keeping with the spirit of Word Nerd Wednesday. The reason I have chosen this particular term is two-fold. The first is that the first time I heard it (nearly a decade ago now), I assumed it had something to do with geriatrics. In retrospect, I can see how silly an assumption that was, but it was what I’d assumed. I still have to do something of a mental reset when I hear it, which is why it fascinated me enough to look into its etymology, and that is why I chose gentrification for this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday installment.

According to etymology online, the word gentrification has no etymology to speak of. The sum total of the entry is that the word was recorded as being first used in 1972.  It also says that early 19th Century persons are recorded with first having used the word gentrify, although no context is provided. When I looked up the etymology of the word gentrify, I got kicked back to gentrification.

The mysterious arrival and ubiquitous usage of a word with no etymological history of note fascinates me. It leaves me wondering how many other words in our lexicon, past or present, are unable to be traced back to the Romance languages from which most English words are derived.

Just a thought.





19 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Gentrification

  1. Elspeth says:

    Good morning, Jack.

    Yes, I am familiar with the word gentry and am a little surprised that the online etymology of gentrification didn’t include the word. I wonder at that…

    I’m also a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of it myself, 🙂 . Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hearthie says:

    Well, my real name is one of them. You’d think that the root of love/friendship would be a name in the Romance languages, but it is NOT. It’s literally the first word you learn to congugate in Latin (amo, amas, amat…) My name is similar and yet unlike to the point that it’s unhearable by native speakers of those languages, who tend to think my RN starts with an E! This has led to confusion over the years….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. smkoseki says:

    Heart, I’ve halfway read your book; not sure what you want from me; in-depth review somewhere, just comments here, or what?


  4. hearthie says:

    SMK – Anything you want to contribute will be a blessing. If you review it on Amazon/B&N, that would be **amazing** but really truly… ANYTHING would be helpful.


  5. smkoseki says:

    H, the book’s genre is not in my normal reading scope (wife was rather amused hearing me listen to it while working out, heh, it’s not my usual genetics or theology or medical or diet stuff) so I guess I was mentally just taking notes from an editing POV. and am unsure that sort of review belongs on Amazon (EG, outer beauty in fairy tales is “symbolic” of inner beauty, not a “metaphor”, or how female skin is 10% lighter than male skin in every hunter-gatherer & modern culture known, regardless of pigment. so the “wealthy women don’t-have-to-work-outside” theory is extremely unlikely, and so on. But let me know, I’m up for whatever. understanding I’m a) not a girl, and b) Thomistic regarding beauty theology. Regardless, your writing style is a bit bouncy and girlish for me (go figure!) but you are a very good writer and a pleasure to listen to even TTS :-).


  6. hearthie says:

    I have zero reviews. So – reviews give me two things. 1) They give me needed critique (and it sounds like you dug up one more thing I was less than clear about, lol) and 2) they prove to other readers that I wrote an actual book, with words which are spelled correctly and stuff. A solid review on Amazon – even, or maybe especially, with caveats – tells other readers that it’s not just an ego-publish, there’s actually something there.

    And I never mind people disagreeing with me, if they do so with thought. Either one or the other of us (or both) is missing info and it leads to good discussion on things I’m interested in (or I wouldn’t have written about).

    BTW and random, but as an author – it’s weird but true. Your preference for ebooks is actually BETTER for my pocketbook than books made from paper. Thank you for the income 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hearthie says:

    She’s pretty! I’m trad enough to think that’s a great look.
    What’s OSAS? Once saved always saved? Seems odd as a fashion comment…

    I have! I have an ebook only which is a specifically fashion book (how to) rather than theory (why to).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. smkoseki says:

    You might play with your Amazon profile to link the Kindle books with your the print ones clearly, and then link your blog so each update shows up on Amazon, and then make sure all the other similar name people books get taken off. This really worked for me. Amazon is kinda messy here.

    Regarding why my review should stick to the intended audience: OSAS is deeply embedded in your book as fashion becomes a conversion statement rather than a vehicle for salvation (makes sense; OSAS don’t have much to think about fashion-wise once a woman is “saved”, sans “saving” others of course.). Yet for historical Christians a woman’s salvation is a wild and immanent adventure that merely starts at baptism as St Paul practically whispers in awe: …woman will be saved through bearing children…IF…she continues in faith and love and holiness, WITH modesty. So for a Trad like me, modesty & fashion are key to a woman living out her salvation in fear and trembling. For a visual of this beauty check out the Pietà, (the only piece Michelangelo ever signed; now that’s a Trad who “gets” female beauty in the image of the Mother of God with all its million flavors, making my words straw…Mel Gibson did a fair job too…).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elspeth says:

    OSAS is deeply embedded in your book as fashion becomes a conversion statement rather than a vehicle for salvation (makes sense; OSAS don’t have much to think about fashion-wise once a woman is “saved”, sans “saving” others of course.)

    My interest has been piqued substantially so I’ll bite, 🙂

    I don’t see the connection between OSAS and fashion as a conversion statement (leaving aside for the moment believing that salvation is in Christ alone not of works is not REMOTELY the same as OSAS). We can argue whether fashion is a conversion statement but that’s not what you said. You seem to be implying that 1) OSAS dismisses the command for women to dress modestly, 2) that modesty is encompassed in a particular uniformity of presentation and 3) that a woman achieves salvation through modesty.

    Is the implication on your side of the equation that a woman should not be either concerned with beauty or fashion? And if so, how should she approach it?


  10. Elspeth says:

    I do agree with this bit, although I’d add thisis equally true for men:

    for historical Christians a woman’s salvation is a wild and immanent adventure that merely starts at baptism


  11. hearthie says:

    I will agree that OSAS forms the bedrock of much of my philosophy. Insofar as I’m concerned, knowing that I know that I know that my place in Heaven is secure makes it substantially easier for me to get on with the work I’ve been given to do in this world. (Regrettably, I know that others think of this backwards, and consider their salvation point the point at which they start sleeping, not start getting on with things).

    It is good to be modest, so as not to stain my Christian witness, stumble my brethren or otherwise cause evil rather than good. But salvic? ‘Tis true, there’s a big Prot-Catholic divide there.

    FWIW In my more ecumenical moments, I suspect that the process of sanctification (Prot talk about becoming more like Christ as much as is possible in this life) and Catholic talk about becoming truly certain about one’s salvation are very similar in Meaning. But I can’t prove it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. smkoseki says:

    So below is my review; I can remove/modify if desired.

    Beauty Destroys the Beast is no wishy-washy, theoretical text. It gives strong, clear, practical suggestions, and goes where very few women (and virtually no men!) are willing to venture these days: what should modern yet religious women wear? It thus fills an untapped niche for women living out an unapologetic Christian life facing that endless female question: What should I wear?

    What this book is: Practical. Modern Protestant. Conservative. Realistic. Opinionated. A smooth read. What this book is not: Traditional. Liberal. Theoretical. Week-kneed.

    People would be wise to read this book even if only to learn how modern Christian women must negotiate fashion and style “on the ground” in this era of rapid change. Since each chapter ends with a practical “question list” to explore your own personal situation, it would be excellent for a study group.


  13. smkoseki says:

    E & H: Regarding OSAS or whatnot, we can go deep into the weeds, but this is probably not the place. E, I can answer all your Q, and I’m well educated here, down to the biblical Greek and Church Councils, but if you read H book you can see a dozen cases where it really matters.

    To stick to the topic: my only point is it’s an excellent book for a Protestant woman and I really enjoyed it in that light but no Traditional Christian (RC/EO/TA/StIgnatius/StAquinas) could read it without being really turned off by the theology, complete with definitive authoritative Scripture interpretations without even a reference to all the Christian Doctors/Bishops who have come before…just the very idea a religious book on fashion not even mentioning the Angelic Doctor Aquinas, who disagrees with the thesis???. My wife, not as open-minded, would faint at this height of this arrogance :-). To Trads, this is like an uneducated rube writing a book on Relativity that changes everything that physics has built over the centuries…without even mentioning this! So you can see were I writing a review for somebody like that it would be a completely different review.

    Remember, just because I don’t agree with somebody doesn’t bother me at all, I just read it from a different angle and learn something new. In fact, I gave this book 5 stars for who it was written for; it definitely wasn’t written for an over-educated male theology nerd!

    Liked by 1 person

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