Friday, May 13, 2011


A while back, I commented on someone’s post on this blog by saying kudos. Beate, our resident linguist, sent me a friendly email asking about the origin and exact meaning of the word. I realized I know generally that kudos means accolades – kind of like good job or well done (sounds like a turkey, doesn’t it?). Beate and I exchanged a few more emails, had some fun playing with the word and then I forgot all about it until a couple of days ago when I left a comment on Lis’s post about winning contests, ending with … you guessed it … kudos. I decided if I was going to use (over-use?) the word, I really should know more about it.

Kudos comes from the Greek kydos. It entered the English language in the 19th century as a singular noun and (as I’m pretty sure you know) means praise, honor or accolades. The internet being a seemingly endless source of information, I discovered that kudos is also a Finish word meaning fabric (textile) or tissue (cell), from the verb kutoa (to knit or weave). Aren’t you glad you know that?

The point of all this? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s as simple as I waste too much time on trivial things. Maybe it’s proof that I need to broaden my vocabulary, which, by the way, will be easier now because, when I googled kudos, I discovered a new website: Check it out if you haven’t already done so. It’s a handy resource – and another way to waste time. (Some people watch soaps; some play video games; I browse dictionaries.)

One more thing about kudos: it is considered a singular noun – or at least it has been. My trusty internet sources tell me that the formerly frowned-upon kudo is entering the language. They even go so far as to predict that it will one day be accepted, as has the word pea (instead of pease) or cherry (instead of cherise). When I read that, I had the distinct feeling that whoever typed the information did so with a sigh and a disdainful lift of brow. As for me, I find it exciting that language is a living thing, constantly evolving to accommodate new ideas and changing to include words from other cultures and traditions.

And now – kudos to our own Elisabeth Rose on having won the Golden Quill award and to all of the other Avalon authors who have been finalists for various awards or whose books have garnered great reviews. No wonder I’ve been using kudos so much. There’s been a lot to celebrate.

Enough from me. I’d love to hear about your favorite words (and I know you have them).


Jennifer Shirk said...

Yay, Elisabeth Rose!! More kudos! :-)

Funny how we throw around phrases or words we sometimes take for granted on where it got its origin. Interesting!

Gina/Katherine said...

I love It's not just words, per se (and yeah..."per se" is one of my fave phrases) but topics and games and oh, don't get me started.
Kudos on an excellent topic!

Sandy Cody said...

Oh I know, Gina. There's all kinds of stuff there. How do you like the word "stuff"? You don't need a dictionary for that one, but sometimes the old standbys are what we need.

Elisabeth Rose said...

Thanks Sandy and Jennifer :)
I love dictionaries. An online one is nowhere near as much fun as finding a word in the book version. I was always telling my children to go and look up a word they wanted to know the meaning of and then we'd find all sorts of other odd and interesting words along the way.

Carolyn Brown said...

Add my kudos and Whoopies (not sure if that's in the dictionary or not) to everyone who has won or is a finalist in this years' contests! Look out world...Avalon authors are plowing a path toward the stars.

Sarita said...

Elisabeth Rose, kudos to you! :)

What an insightful post. It will give me something to think about, thanks!

Beate Boeker said...

Who'd have thought that my curious question would be the basis for such a wonderful post! It was a new word for me, and, yes, it has been used a lot on our loop . . . no wonder, with so many things to celebrate! I first thought it was some popular and new creation in the English language . . . though it seems to have been around for a while!
Thank you, Sandy. This was fun!

Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, ladies, for stopping by and, to those of you who left comments ... ahem ... kudos.