Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Public Service Announcement

During a visit several years ago, a dear friend and I were visiting about our current lives. I was listing the different activities I was involved in, and she said, very calmly and understandingly said, "Yes, Lyz, but you've always been such a busybody." I was a bit taken aback.

Later when I repeated the conversation to Aaron, he was surprised I wasn't more offended. But I explained that she hadn't meant it as an insult...she literally meant that I was a busy body - always doing something, going somewhere.

BUT that is NOT what "busybody" means. And I've run into several sweet friends who also think it means being active. So I'm here to clear the record. If you tell someone that they are a busybody, no matter how innocently you mean it, they may take it as a complete insult, because it actually means that you are a huge gossip, always involved with other people's business.

But don't take my word for it. Here's the Free Online Dictionary definition:
n. pl. bus·y·bod·ies
A person who meddles or pries into the affairs of others.

And another definition, and yet another.

THIS product seems to support this definition. What better tool for a true busybody?

But confusing matters is THIS company, for exercise equipment. However, their name is Busy Body - two words. Which makes me think they are actually playing on this derogatory word. Still, not helpful with clarification.

Even worse? This company, which is called Busybody's Student Laundry. Now, unless they are going through your laundry looking for details of your activities, the name is incorrect. Unless it is owned or operated by someone with the last name of Busybody. Which would be unfortunate.

Making me wonder which definition (the correct or incorrect) they were working on is this product: the BusyBodyBook, a scheduling book for moms. It's actually a pretty cool looking tool, but I'm wondering if its name is based on the fact that you can see what everyone is up to (CORRECT definition) or because everyone is so busy (INCORRECT definition) that you need a special notebook to keep track of them.

If you have been functioning under the misconception that "busybody" may be an innocent, neutral description for a person, I hope this post serves as a warning: YOU MAY BE SERIOUSLY MISUNDERSTOOD. And people may be offended and think poorly of you.

That is all I am saying here. Just doing what I can to make the English language a bit clearer.

Here's another post about words/phrases that threaten to push me over the edge. And yet another.


mama.nichols4 said...

Thanks for clearing this up Liz. You know how lost I was about the whole "busybody" discussion. :)

AJ said...

sngxz.... Wha? Is it time for algebra now?

JJ and EJ said...

JJ says you fell into the trap of actually being a busybody by bossing people around.

Lyz said...

Hmm. I think it's obvious that AJ and JJ are related.

But JJ, being a gossip and being bossy are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT things. And I've never said I'm not bossy.

Aaron said...

This post wouldn't be funny, if it wasn't so funny to watch Liz when she gets worked up about stuff. It's hilarious.

So, to have her offer up these things that get her worked up is a great sign of generosity. Thank you Liz, I look forward to visiting. ;)

Lyz said...

Aaron - What good is having a blog if you can't use it as a place to rant? WITH NO INTERRUPTIONS?