Sunday, November 6, 2011 | By: Brianna

Omen

"That's a good omen."

"It must be an omen."

"Bad omen."

Omens.  Based on the Oxford English Dictionary, and the random quotes that I put above, I've learned that "omen," is a really sort of ambiguous word.  It can mean whatever you need it to mean.  Okay, you probably couldn't replace "kerfuffle" with "omen," but you know what I mean.  When something has "prophetic significance," it can be an omen.  Which is interesting.  How many other words have that fluidity?  Sure, you can have a good dog and you can have a bad dog, but it doesn't hold the same sort of significance that "omen" does.  We know that an omen is something that happens that is supposed to predict good or evil happening, but the word has to be modified by an adjective.  Otherwise, it's just a "I'm not really sure if this is a good or bad thing" omen.  Which works too.

It's probably a matter of interpretation.

I also learned a little bit about "omen-animals," which is to say that I learned that they exist.  They're animals whose behavior or body parts are used in methods of divination.  Which is pretty cool.  And then there's also a specific entry for "omen-birds" which are probably different from regular omen-animals in some way, though I'm not really sure.  [This calls for more research.]

Thanks Google!  Oh Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet...surely a rock star pairing!
OH!  And this reminds me that I have Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's book, Good Omens, sitting on my bookshelf at school.  There it will sit until I move out.  I know it.  I've never read it, but it's on one of my immediate "READ ME" lists because of the fact that I own it.  [Actually, funny (not really funny) story, I went to Borders with a gift card that I discovered randomly in one of my purses, and I was all ready to spend this $15 I thought I had.  I bought Good Omens and Witch and Wizard because they were random, cheap, and I needed to own some Neil Gaiman.  I get to the register and the gift card only has a couple cents on it, and Borders hadn't started their "going out of business" sales.  Paid for them out of my birthday money.]  I'm really excited about reading it though because I have a friend who enjoyed it and was going to attend the Printer's Ball as a character from it...but that fell through.

So omens.  Definitely something that I could think more about.  Poetically?

Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt: Omen.

"There is no such thing as an omen.  Destiny does not send us heralds.  She is too wise or too cruel for that."
- Oscar Wilde

7 comments:

jaerose said...

Interesting post..reminds me of Philip Pullman's trilogy..it would be good having a guardian hamster on your shoulder..Jae ;)

Kathy Bischoping said...

Something strange about "omen" is that the synonyms for it in thesauruses are mostly synonyms for "bad omen", not really capturing the fluidity you're onto. I guess we don't need as much warning when something good is about to happen.

keith hillman said...

The word omen has such an ominous ring to it.
www.keithsramblings.com

oldegg said...

We seemed to have lost good omens as an option, opting for good vibes instead.

Roshanda "ShonEjai" Glenn said...

Love this post! Very thought provoking! I love pondering over the meaning of words as you have here. Well done!

Susie Clevenger said...

We only think of omen as negative...I did my own research to find that is not so...love your piece not only a word study, but a book suggestions.. :)

pieceofpie said...

i found that too... both good and bad or anything at all... which i believe is a good omen... dynamite post...

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