Thursday, October 22, 2009

Word Thursday - Aesthete



My word for today came on my dictionary module on My Yahoo. I like learning new words or renewing my acquaintance with words I once used but have lost touch with. My word for today falls into that latter category. Aesthete is a perfectly good word but it has gone out of favor since the days of President Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew. It became popular at that time to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable. A fine tradition what was revived and honed by G.W.Bush.

The word aesthete began to take on the darker parts of its definition -  dilettante, professes to have, and indifference to practical matters. Artists and people that had a sensitivity to beauty were seen to be light in the loafers or of little use. Art itself was devalued. Beauty had value only if it could be mass produced in China and marketed at Wal-Mart.

A funny thing has happened as we have waded through the economic crisis, and as an artist (an aesthete) I have noticed, people seem to be returning to a love of beauty over quantity or just drinking in the beauty at galleries or tops of mountains or owning one small piece of art they truly love. Consumer is becoming a bad word and aesthete is once again taking on its good definitions.

aes⋅thete

–noun
1.
a person who has or professes to have refined sensitivity toward the beauties of art or nature.
2.
a person who affects great love of art, music, poetry, etc., and indifference to practical matters.
Also, esthete.


Origin:
1880–85; < Gk aisthēts one who perceives, equiv. to aisthē- (var. s. of aisthánesthai to perceive) + -tēs n. suffix denoting agent

Synonyms:
1. connoisseur. 2. dilettante.

2 comments:

bekkieann said...

Wonderful word. I'll try to use it in a conversation. Or in a scrabble game.

Bee's Blog said...

This is a good word - a solid word.

I know what you mean about not using certain words anymore. Every now and again I will be jolted by a word used in a British movie - a word that I once used but living in a different culture, no longer do. Strange!

Love the photograph accompanying 'the word'. true beauty. And I think you have got it right - people are beginning to wake up and see the beauty around them in this time of crisis - pity it takes something such as that to bring a different perspective.