How etymology can help you discover your muse
Next time you are working on a subject, or find yourself interested in something, why not try looking it up in an online etymology direction. Discover how far back the word goes and what other possible meanings that it held for our ancestors. This will help you discover new tangents and creative possibilities.
What is in a name?
“A rose, is a rose, is a rose. By any other name does it smell as sweet?”- Bill Shakespeare
How exactly did a rose get its name?
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the English got the term from the Latin “Rosa”. The Romans were believed to had gotten “rosa” from the Greek word “rhodon”. The Greeks were believed to have gotten this name from the Persian word “urda”. “Urda” is believed to be a descendent of the Pan-Indo-European term “wrdho” which means thorn or bramble.
“Every Rose has its thorn.” Brett Michaels
So as you can see, looking up the history of rose, you can see that the term ultimately came not from its color, beauty, or fragrance but rather from its characteristic thorns. By examining the roots of the rose, you end up with many different creative avenues that you can go down. For example, seeing that rose can be traced down to a PIE word, might inspire you to look further into the Pan-Indo-European language theory. Or, perhaps you might find yourself, examining how “rose” can mean something that is both beautiful and painful.
When you start looking into the root of a word or subject, the inspirational possibilities become endless. As you delve further into its history your subject can start to unfold like a great detective novel and you might find yourself discovering new things and finding new directions in which to take your work. Links that you might have never thought of might appear, giving you a better understanding of your subject. Knowing its history might also allow you to look at your interests from a different perspective and find new ways in which to tackle the problem.