Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Word Choice Wednesday: Unafraid


This WCW incited by R.E.M.'s "Walk Unafraid", which spontaneously crops up in my mental soundtrack with some regularity.

Merriam-Webster says:
M-W just took me to a definition for the prefix un-, of which this one is most relevant IMO:
a: deprive of: remove (a specified thing) from: remove  b: release from: free from  c: remove from: extract from: bring out of  d: cause to cease to be

I'm calling this a nickel word. Not unusual, but worth a bit more than saying not afraid or not scared.

More specific than:
This word's quality is not in its specificity but in its slightly stilted, I-get-used-in-poems-more (which I could be entirely wrong about) flavor.

Word relationships:
I wanted to write this WCW to think about the difference between unafraid and fearless. They taste different to me. I've always thought of fearless as being brasher, more aggressive than unafraid. However, unafraid seems more pervasive and maybe more resilient -- that by adding aggression to fearless, it becomes more brittle. Which is also interesting that of their two root words, afraid and fear, I would think of fear as deeper, more enveloping, than afraid. They swap places when negated.

What comes to your mind?

1 comment:

Libby said...

I'm going to agree, fearless does seem brasher, bolder.

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