Trivia Teaser

Which word is closest in meaning to AUDACIOUS?

Innuendo
Intrepid
Intrigue
Intonate

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07
Mar
2014
 

By Miranda

Not so long ago the word 'avatar' hit the English language from its native Sanskrit in which it meant the visitation, or the bodily form taken during the visitation, of a god to the world of humans. In Hinduism, of course, there are many deities, some with many such bodily forms, so the notion of 'avatar' would be widespread and having a single word to describe the concept most useful.

Well, when I say not so long ago, it was in the late 18th century that the word 'avatar' made it to the Oxford Dictionary, one of the many words incorporated at that time of European expansion into Asia such as the notion of 'cot' as a bed and any number of food types (yes, curry and all its accompaniments, too).

Back to the 'avatar'. Within a hundred years of English usage, 'avatar' had moved from the incarnation or embodiment of a deity to the embodiment of an idea or almost any manifestation. It usually kept the association of power.

It took the development of the science fiction and fantasy genres, principally in the 20th century, to relaunch the word. I'm not sure but I think I first encountered the concept of the embodiment or manifestation of a character, possibly magical and powerful, in the work of Tim Powers, or maybe Aldiss. It was certainly back in the 70s or so.

Then came the explosion of computer games and online groups in which, for the first time, one could create an image to represent one's own character or the character one was developing within a game. And, finally, 'avatar' moved from being an obscure, albeit interesting, word to one which we could assume was part of most people's general knowledge.

An 'avatar' may now be an everyday thing, but do you remember when you first bumped into it?

366 Responses to

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said:
March 14, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Sorry mommyscat, l forgot to say good morning.:)l also have a feeling that it has landed somewhere, there is a lot of empty land in China.

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pdiaco said:
March 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I had the same imagination as mommyscat about the connection between a Bermuda Triangle and a 'South China Sea Triangle'. That's not to say that I'm going with it. Even if the plane is found, investigations could go on for years, without a definitive conclusion.

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said:
March 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM

pd, I also hinted at that with my 'portal' idea so now we are 3 of a kind... :)

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said:
March 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM

l don`t think it has totally disappeared it has to be somewhere and probably intact as no debris has been found, and mobile phones rang out, there is nothing at the moment to prove it has crashed or been blown up....

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pdiaco said:
March 14, 2014 at 5:50 PM

I think it's probably too easy for someone with a concealed weapon to slip past airline security. In Feb 2007 I was travelling alone to Greece and singled out twice and scanned for weapons or explosives I guess, in two overseas airports I've forgotten which ones. I was carrying a green backpack and I think I was wearing a green jacket (a Huski) - apparently that was enough cause for security to frisk, scan and search me. When I queried why I was selected, I was told something about fitting a 'profile'. I seriously warned security to be careful about those who did not fit the so-called 'profile' and were being let through without any scanning. He said they knew what they were doing. So therein lies the problem - if what they are doing, however lax, must be ok because there were no subsequent terrorist incidents, isn't it just a matter of time before a real one *not* fitting the 'profile' just walks past security?

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said:
March 14, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Why did you look sus lol