Friday, September 20, 2013

3:1 - Chary

When & Where: I found the word chary when I was reading the short story "Marigolds" by Eugenia W. Collier (1969) at work today. The sentence was "But God was chary with miracles in those days, and so we waited -- and waited" (p. 1).

Level of Familiarity: I have never heard this word used before, so I had no idea what it meant. I thought it might have been a typo at first, but I was able to correctly deduce what it meant by looking at the context and the rest of the sentence. I guessed that since the narrator had been talking about how hard times were and that everyone was living in poverty, it probably meant that there weren't too many good things happening at the time.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com had a few definitions for chary. The most appropriate one for this context was "sparingly." The word was also defined at the end of the story and was said to mean "not generous." This makes sense and goes along with what I had initially thought -- that God was not generous in handing out miracles during the narrator's childhood.

Reflective Commentary: I found this word interesting simply because I had never come across it before now, but I don't think it's a word that I will regularly use. I feel as though the word chary is a little out-dated and so not very many people would even know what I was talking about. Also, there are a lot of other words that can be used instead of chary that are more appropriate such as hesitant, reluctant, or sparing.

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