Words for Women Writing Memoir: #27

by Matilda Butler on January 27, 2012

catnav-rosies-daughters-activePost #39– Women’s Memoirs, Rosie the Riveter – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Memoir Writing, Storytelling and Journaling, All Benefit from Careful Word Choice

Here’s the 27th word on our list that can first be attributed to the period of World War II between 1940 and 1945.

You might call this the anti-week. It is interesting to see how the World War II period was marked by the introduction of a number of words — already known — now combined with the word anti.

antihypertensive, adj. and n.

Etymology: < anti- prefix1 + hypertensive adj.

Definition: Of a naturally occurring substance, a drug, or a form of treatment: that lowers high blood pressure or intraocular pressure. Also: of or relating to this effect.

First use as listed in Oxford English Dictionary:

1941 Science 4 Apr. 332/2 Without much question the antihypertensive action of the hog renin injections was not due to the coincidental presence of the antipressor substance.

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Background for Our (Mostly) Daily Word from World War II

A memoir writer carefully chooses her words. That’s the only way to convey meaning and emotion to readers. There is another level of word choice that a writer needs to consider. Words that are appropriate for the time period.

When Kendra and I were writing our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, we kept a book nearby that contained a new word that gained popularity in each year. This became a vital resource as we tried to find ways to recreate the different decades.

Let’s say you are writing about your childhood and using dialogue. Not only should you use the language level appropriate for your age, you should also be careful to not include words that weren’t even in the dictionary at that time.

Introducing Words First Known to be Used During World War II

This year, we’re going to bring you words introduced during World War II — 1940-1945. We continue our fascination with that period after our research for writing the memoir Rosie’s Daughters. Words from an era help to define that time period. We’ll post a word almost every day — always late in the afternoon. Be sure to check in regularly.

Where do we find these words? The Oxford English Dictionary, of course. OED is a resource for all writers, containing information not just about meaning and pronunciation but also about changes in our language, history and origins of more than 500,000 words. It traces the original public use of words through about 2.5 million quotations.

It is possible to search by year with the word was first introduced. By putting in 1940-1945, we found 2,122 words with a first documented use during World War II.

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Rosie the Riveter bandana, Rosie bandana, Rosie the Riveter scarf, Rosie scarf, red and white polka dot bandana, red and white polka dot scarf, Rosie the Riveter, authentic Rosie the Riveter bandana, authentic Rosie the Riveter scarf, polka dot bandana, polka dot scarfBy the way, if you are interested in Rosie the Riveter’s red and white polka-dot bandana, be sure to visit our store. Rosie represents the 18 million women who were working during World War II — the symbol of strength, courage, and empowerment.

If you want the official look, the official red and white polka dot scarf, we’ve got what you are looking for because no one else offers a true Rosie the Riveter bandana. Our bandana is a generous 27 x 27 inches so you can tie it just like Rosie the Riveter did. You also get more white polka dots — large ones just like Rosie wore — and in a random pattern. We studied her bandana to make sure we were offering you an authentic look. And finally, we’re pleased to say it is Made in the USA.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janet January 28, 2012 at

Thank you. How exciting. I’ve been writing my Dad’s WWII story. He is 90 y/o and was in Germany.

Loved this.

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