Word of the day, 2nd April 2015

Honeymoon /ˈhʌnɪˌmuːn/

One of my friends recently got married (I saw some pictures yesterday, so perhaps I really ought to change the name of these posts to “word of yesterday”).

After getting married, it is traditional for the newly-weds (the newly married couple) to go on a holiday, which is called a “honeymoon”.

On such a holiday, the couple may stay in the “honeymoon suite” of a hotel, or in a “honeymoon cottage”, for example.

Another holiday might resemble such a time, so a couple might have “a second honeymoon”.

The word is also often used to mean the early part of any relationship, particularly in business, or in politics, or it might be used to mean the early stage in any activity, before problems set in.

For example when you start a new job, your boss and colleagues may “be nicer” to you, won’t criticise you, and maybe won’t ask you to do difficult tasks, while you are getting used to the new environment, and so on.

Or when a new prime-minister is elected, people might not criticise what they do for a while: “The elected party’s brief honeymoon period only lasted until the first budget.

I expect most of you will know this word well, since it is directly translated in many languages, such as:

French: “lune de miel” = “moon of honey”
Spanish: “luna de miel” = “moon of honey”
Chinese: “蜜月” (Mìyuè) = “honey moon”

However for other languages, while they have a similar meaning word, the origin of the word is different.

For example, in German it is “Flitterwochen” = “tinsel weeks”.

The English word comes literally from “honey (n.) in reference to the new marriage’s sweetness, and moon (n.) in reference to how long it would probably last, or from the changing aspect of the moon: no sooner full than it begins to wane /weɪn/”.

At the risk of sounding corny, or cheesy, for my friends I genuinely pray that their honeymoon will not end: that for the rest of their life, their entire marriage will be full of sweetness, like honey.  🙂

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