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29 April 2011 @ 11:49 am
Word of the Day: Ken  
Another favorite word... Sadly, I usually use it in the phrase "beyond my ken." :P

ken   \KEN\   noun
1 a : the range of vision 
b : sight, view
2 : the range of perception, understanding, or knowledge

Did you know?
"Ken" appeared on the English horizon in the 16th century as a term of measurement of the distance bounding the range of ordinary vision at sea -- about 20 miles. British author John Lyly used that sense in 1580 when he wrote, "They are safely come within a ken of Dover." Other 16th-century writers used "ken" to mean "range of vision" ("Out of ken we were ere the Countesse came from the feast." -- Thomas Nashe) or "sight" ("'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore." -- Shakespeare). Today, however, "ken" rarely suggests literal sight. Rather, "ken" nowadays almost always implies a range of comprehension, understanding, or knowledge.
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Uncle Mikeybelmikey on April 29th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
Despite not actually being a cognate, I find it interesting that the Mandarin word 'kan' spoken high-tone means "to look after" or "to supervise" and 'kan' spoken falling-tone means "to see, to watch, to read, to think or consider". Both, just to confuse people, use the same character despite the differing tone.
eithni: snapeeithni on April 29th, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
Chinese is special.
Uncle Mikeybelmikey on April 29th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes it is.

On the flip side, for example, the words for "he", "she" and "it" are all "ta" with the high tone, but they all have different characters.
reneekytokorpireneekytokorpi on May 1st, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
Which website do you get your word of the day from? I couldn't find it in back posts.
eithni: bookseithni on May 2nd, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
I have a few sources -

oed.com
m-w.com
reneekytokorpireneekytokorpi on May 9th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D