The McCain syzygy

Michael Gerson points out that John McCain’s nomination is also something of a miracle. The column, while interesting in itself, is notable in that it uses the word syzygy. That’s the first time I have ever come across that word apart from a game of Scrabble. Coming from the Greek word for “yoke,” it refers to three different planets lining up in a straight line. (Yes, I had to look it up.)

Your assignment for today, class, is to find a way to use that word in the course of your normal conversation.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I wonder if Zach and Kelsey Brettler of Walla Walla, Washington, and owners of Syzygy Wines, will see an increase in business because of Gerson’s use of the word, syzygy, in his article.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I wonder if Zach and Kelsey Brettler of Walla Walla, Washington, and owners of Syzygy Wines, will see an increase in business because of Gerson’s use of the word, syzygy, in his article.

  • Jonathan

    Some say that when the planets line up, disaster strikes. With McCain as president, we’ll know for sure.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
    femail/article-1024927/
    The-wife-John-McCain-callously-left-behind.html

  • Jonathan

    Some say that when the planets line up, disaster strikes. With McCain as president, we’ll know for sure.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
    femail/article-1024927/
    The-wife-John-McCain-callously-left-behind.html

  • Booklover

    Wow. It seems that whenever I hear a word for the first time, I hear it often after that.

    I listen to Pilgrim Radio, whose “DJ” reads a good book each day. He is now reading Bernard Nathanson’s “The Hand of God,” the abortion doctor’s story of how he changed his mind on abortion. The reader has a dictionary by his side as he reads, and gives definitions to words Nathanson uses. I think, but I’m not positive, that he used “syzygynous” the other day. Nathanson was explaining that everything had lined up in its order at the right time (the law, etc.) for him to have the country’s largest abortion practice at that time.

    The book tells of his life from his practice as a very busy abortionist, to his conversion to Roman Catholicism and his production of the movie, “Silent Scream,” among other things.

    While on that topic—
    It was voting day last week and voting was held as usual at the public schools. A group was trying to get a pro-life petition signed. To help their cause, they had a display of plastic fetuses at 6, 8, 10, and 20 weeks gestation. (In the past, petition workers have often used brochures and pictures to help their causes of clean water, mining practices, etc.) Well, here in the largest city in Montana, these people were kicked out of the middle school because “the children were asking questions.”

  • Booklover

    Wow. It seems that whenever I hear a word for the first time, I hear it often after that.

    I listen to Pilgrim Radio, whose “DJ” reads a good book each day. He is now reading Bernard Nathanson’s “The Hand of God,” the abortion doctor’s story of how he changed his mind on abortion. The reader has a dictionary by his side as he reads, and gives definitions to words Nathanson uses. I think, but I’m not positive, that he used “syzygynous” the other day. Nathanson was explaining that everything had lined up in its order at the right time (the law, etc.) for him to have the country’s largest abortion practice at that time.

    The book tells of his life from his practice as a very busy abortionist, to his conversion to Roman Catholicism and his production of the movie, “Silent Scream,” among other things.

    While on that topic—
    It was voting day last week and voting was held as usual at the public schools. A group was trying to get a pro-life petition signed. To help their cause, they had a display of plastic fetuses at 6, 8, 10, and 20 weeks gestation. (In the past, petition workers have often used brochures and pictures to help their causes of clean water, mining practices, etc.) Well, here in the largest city in Montana, these people were kicked out of the middle school because “the children were asking questions.”

  • Matt L

    That would be a nice 21 point word (as you would have to use a blank piece for the third y), however BEZIQUE is a much better 77 point word (27 for the letters + 50 for the use of all 7 letters), plus it can be made plural with the use of an “s” which, depending on the placement of the “s” you could get a triple letter for the “z,” (which makes it a 48 point word) plus a double word score (making it 96 points) for a grand total of a 146 point word.

    Of course there’s this scrabble situation: http://www.fun-with-words.com/scrabble.html – a 1830 point word (BENZOXYCAMPHORS ) that spans 3 triple word scores and links to several other words…. one can only dream.

  • Matt L

    That would be a nice 21 point word (as you would have to use a blank piece for the third y), however BEZIQUE is a much better 77 point word (27 for the letters + 50 for the use of all 7 letters), plus it can be made plural with the use of an “s” which, depending on the placement of the “s” you could get a triple letter for the “z,” (which makes it a 48 point word) plus a double word score (making it 96 points) for a grand total of a 146 point word.

    Of course there’s this scrabble situation: http://www.fun-with-words.com/scrabble.html – a 1830 point word (BENZOXYCAMPHORS ) that spans 3 triple word scores and links to several other words…. one can only dream.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Scrabble word! Yes! Excellent suggestion!

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Scrabble word! Yes! Excellent suggestion!

  • Bruce

    I prefer the word “anacolouthon”. Anacolouthon, anacolouthon, anacolouthon. It has such a nice ring, and describes my life so well.

    Besides, I can’t pronounce “sygygygzy” gyz.

  • Bruce

    I prefer the word “anacolouthon”. Anacolouthon, anacolouthon, anacolouthon. It has such a nice ring, and describes my life so well.

    Besides, I can’t pronounce “sygygygzy” gyz.

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    Actually, the word appears in Philippians 4.3 in noun form (english transliteration – suzugos) and means “yoke-fellow” or “companion”, at least in this context. Some believe it’s actually a proper name of someone Paul’s addressing to help the two embattled women Euodia and Syntyche, settle their differences; “Oh, by the way, Syzygus, take care of that little fracas, would you.”

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    Actually, the word appears in Philippians 4.3 in noun form (english transliteration – suzugos) and means “yoke-fellow” or “companion”, at least in this context. Some believe it’s actually a proper name of someone Paul’s addressing to help the two embattled women Euodia and Syntyche, settle their differences; “Oh, by the way, Syzygus, take care of that little fracas, would you.”

  • FullTime

    So, for our homework, using the word in our day, ummm…does it count if we use the original word rather than the modern?

    Studying ancient Greek has a great many uses. ;)

  • FullTime

    So, for our homework, using the word in our day, ummm…does it count if we use the original word rather than the modern?

    Studying ancient Greek has a great many uses. ;)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X