As a writer, I am a wordsmith and always curious about words and their meaning.
Seeing sprouts of green finally show up on my lawn here in the mountains made me think about the word GRASS.
The literal meaning: any plant of the family Gramineae, having jointed stems, sheathing leaves, and seedlike grains.
The slang meaning: Marijuana.
But the word GRASS can also be a symbol.
- Once a name for spring or early summer, today the appearance of grass in yards signals the coming of spring.
- In his poem, “Grass,” Carl Sandburg used the word symbolically to represent the waste and meaninglessness of war:
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all…
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?
- In Psalm 103:15-16 GRASS illustrates the brevity of human existence:
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place where it was shall know it no more.
The word GRASS can be found in idioms.
- Go to grass is to retire from one’s occupation or profession
- Let the grass grow under one’s feet is become slack in one’s efforts.
- The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence) implies different circumstances wouldn’t be better.
- A snake in the grass refers to a false friend
- Grassroots refers to the common people or bottom of the political pyramid political pyramid, opposite the “establishment,” which controls the top.
YOUR TURN: Can you think of other ways the word GRASS is used?
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