Word of the Day: Comestible

Word of the Day

The Mirriam-Webster Word of the Day for today is, somewhat appropriately, comestible. It can be either a noun or an adjective. As an adjective, comestible means “edible” or “eatable.” As a noun, it means “food,” though usually we find the plural instead of the singular, as in “We enjoyed a variety of comestibles today.” It is pronounced / kəˈmɛs tə bəl /. If you don’t read IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), the little upside down e in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th syllables is called “schwa,” and it is an unstressed vowel sound that is basically pronounced “uh.” Given that the vowels in each of those syllables are different, the word is an illustration of the fact that in English, unstressed vowel sounds tend toward schwa. The vowel in the second syllable is a short “e” sound, as in pet or bed.

According to www.etymonline.com, the noun enters the language in “1837, ‘article of food,’ from French comestible (14c.), from Late Latin comestibilis, from Latin comestus, past participle of comedere ‘eat up, consume,’ from com ‘with, together,’ here ‘thoroughly’ (see com-) + edere ‘to eat’ (from PIE root *ed– ‘to eat’). It was attested earlier as an adjective meaning ‘fit to eat’ but this seems to have fallen from use 17c., and the word was reintroduced from French as a noun.” So it existed in the language as an adjective, then dropped out of the language, and then reemerged as a noun, and now exists as both.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. On this day, many of us give thanks for God’s mercy in blessing us with material prosperity. We celebrate this day by gathering together with family and eating, watching parades and football games, and eating.

Some people have a problem with all the consumption and the emphasis on non-Christian activities, but I don’t. The fact is that Christians, and Jews before them, have long celebrated God’s blessings by feasting. And it is not that American Christians are not generous—we are, more generous than any other group of people in the world.

What about the football and parades? Yes, those are entertainments, but they grow out of the generosity of God to all of us, Christians, Jews, atheists, and everybody else. In the past, people didn’t have time for such entertainments because they were too busy hunting and gathering so that they could eat.

My own belief about all those Old Testament laws, like the 10 Commandments, is that they are designed to help us live in community. Don’t kill people (because killing people doesn’t help you live in community with others). Don’t covet your neighbor’s stuff (because coveting other people’s stuff doesn’t help you live in community with others). Don’t steal (because stealing from people doesn’t help you live in community with others). Don’t lie about other people (because lying about people doesn’t help you live in community with others). Etc.

Thanksgiving is about living in community with God’s blessing.

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving, and that the comestibles were to your liking.

The picture is from https://www.thespruceeats.com/classic-thanksgiving-menu-with-recipes-3061631.