Words for Women Writing Memoirs, #31

by Matilda Butler on January 31, 2012

catnav-rosies-daughters-activePost #43– Women’s Memoirs, Rosie the Riveter – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Memoir Writers, Storytellers and Journalers, All Benefit from Careful Word Choice

Here’s the 31st word on our list that can first be attributed to the period of World War II between 1940 and 1945.

While not quite as much fun as yesterday’s astrodome, we are reminded that some words do tell us about an era and even point to the future. During World War II, pilots needed a way to navigate using the stars. At the time, who would have know that space travel to the moon was in the not-too-distant future.

astronavigation, n.

Etymology: < astro (star)- comb. form + navigation n.

Definition: Determination of the position and course of aircraft by means of observation of the stars; applied also to the possible or actual use of this means in vehicles travelling in space.

First use as listed in Oxford English Dictionary:

1942 W. Simpson One of our Pilots is Safe ii. 46 We had neither the sextant nor the detailed knowledge necessary for astro-navigation.

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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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We’ve had many requests for one over the years, but knew it would take a lot of research to do this right. Finally, this fall, we tackled the job. To learn more about the history of Rosie the Riveter’s pin, actually her employment badge, and how we created it, just click here.

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Then we came up with the idea of a Rosie the Riveter Zipper Pull. It’s just a little smaller than our Rosie Collar Pin — perfect to wear on all your jackets and vests. We never leave the house without one one.

They’re fun, inexpensive, and great conversation starters. Wear one proudly to declare that you are an empowered woman. To order yours today, just click here.

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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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