Peregrinate. This Vocabulary Vitamin is not about falcons, although peregrine falcons do it. Do what? Travel. Wander. But they usually don’t walk. According to Merriam Webster, peregrinate does mean walk or travel, especially on foot. Most falcons, however, don’t give a rip about Merriam Webster and are not about to start walking everywhere. In fact, peregrine falcons are sometimes known as the world’s fastest flying machines.
Actually, the scientific name for peregrine falcon is falco peregrinus, which means the falcon wanderer.So if peregrinus means wanderer why doesn’t peregrinate mean wander? Or does it? The definitive answer is “kinda sorta.” Although Merriam Webster online does not deign to mention this, my old Funk & Wagnalls does: The meaning of peregrinate often includes the nuance of “wander” or walk “randomly.” (The young people decided to peregrinate all over Europe.) Words narrow and widen in meaning over the years, as Branwen explains so beautifully at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1817776/adventures_in_english_word_change_strengthening.html
Peregrinate can be used as a transitive verb or an intransitive verb, depending on whether or not it is used with a direct object. The group peregrinates the land like a herd of lazy buffalo. (Transitive, and land is the direct object.) Or, the group peregrinates across the land like a herd of lazy buffalo. (Intransitive, no direct object; “across the land” acts like an adverb.)
Vocabulary Vitamins is an (almost) daily series based on the belief that a word a day keeps the inarticulate away. In the spreadsheet of life, under the column marked “Vocabulary” I have this notation: “Dwindling.” Yes, it’s true, I, former world class wordsmith, lover of etymology, and polysyllabic pontificant, have come to the point where a word may attract my attention like a once loved face, and my reaction is “Dear Word, once I knew you, but time and age now dictate that I ask, HUH? Wha duz that mean?”
So far, a select few of you are joining me in heavy vocabulary building. Hopefully, readership will increase without my having to repeat SEO terms in every sentence. Together, we can regain our vocabulary vim and vigor with daily word calisthenics.
In summary, today’s Vocabulary Vitamin is: peregrinate/PER-uh-gri-nate /verb
Transitive: Walk or travel over, through or along
Intransitive: Walk, traverse, especially on foot. travel from place to place
Adjective: peregrine. PER uh grin) /meaning a) from foreign regions. b) wandering
Noun: peregrination/ the act of peregrinatng.
Use it below in a sentence, and make it yours. We are keeping score. There could be a test Friday.