Thursday, January 19, 2012


Dorothy read a blog in which the writer said that he was “pining for the way things used to be.” Her question was, “how did pining come to mean yearning?”

Originally, this pine (which has no connection to the tree) was related to pain. It represented the torment or torture inflicted by an angry God as punishment to sinners dwelling in purgatory or in hell. It descended from the Latin poena, pain.

To pine eventually came to mean to waste away, to endure emotional or physical suffering because of starvation, disease, or grief.

Later, it sidetracked into shrinking and curing meat or fish by exposing them to the elements.

Finally, in the 16th century, it came to mean to yearn, to languish with desire, to long eagerly. Shakespeare used it in Romeo and Juliet, when Friar Lawrence said,

"I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day

Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death

Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city,

For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined."

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Check out Mike's program-based books here:

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints