Wednesday, June 12, 2013


As a Michigan Commissioner of Services to the Aging, it was my privilege, on behalf of the Commission, to designate the Village of Bellaire as a Community for a Lifetime (i.e., elder-friendly). In explaining the significance of the award, Dan Dozema, field representative of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, referred to the “wads of paper” that were required to complete the required survey.

A wad originally meant a bundle of hay, straw, or vegetables made at the time of reaping. It expanded to mean a heap or a sheath of any vegetative matter. From there, it turned into a small bundle of a soft, flexible material for use as a plug or a pad. In America, it was used to describe something rolled up tightly, as a roll of bank notes. To blow your wad (the non-obscene version) meant to lose all your money, probably at gambling.

A wad was also material composed of matted fibers of silk, raw cotton, and so on. A plug or tampon of cloth, felt, or cardboard was used to hold powder and shot in place when loading a gun. This led to “shooting one’s wad”—firing a gun—which then expanded to mean doing everything possible, giving one’s all.

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

Nook edition

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