Stravage – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


Happy Friday. Today’s Word of the Day is Stravage.

Originally entering the English language in the late 18th century this Scottish/Irish word is derived from an aphetic contraction, which means that it is a word formed by combining two words as well as by aphesis (the loss of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word (e.g., of a from around to form round ).

From Medieval Latin we have ‘extravigari’ which means to wander out of bounds, digress or ramble. ‘Vagare’ is an Italian intransitive verb that means: to wander aroundroam around, to roam. I particularly like this Italian phrase: “vagare con la fantasia” which means to give free rein to one’s imaginationlet one’s imagination run away with one.

And to round out the etymology of this most interesting word, the Italian verb ‘vagare’ or ‘vargari’ is derived from the adjective ‘vagus’ which means strolling or unsettled and is thought to be a precursor of the English word ‘vagrant’. Back to our word, stravage. To get to its current form, the “ex” from the original Latin ‘extravigari’ was dropped by the Scots who converted the word to ‘stravaig’. It was later embraced by the English, dropping the ‘i’and adding an ‘e’.

I was able to find a delightful, award-winning Glasgow restaurant called Stravaigin in my stravaging across the internet. True to its name, their website’s “About” page links us back to this 18th century word: “‘Stravaig’ meaning ‘to wander’ encompasses our ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ ethos perfectly. So wander off the beaten path into either the street level cafe bar or the downstairs restaurant where you’ll find menus showcasing Scottish produce that isn’t tethered to its roots. Awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand every year since 2012.” Stravaigin is quite modern however, offering local fare with an exotic flare. Click on the link of their name above to check them out. If ever you’re in Glasgow…;)

The Scots, I have learned, are very proud of their native language and heritage. There is an entire website devoted to all thing Scots…but I suppose I am digressing…or stravaging you might say. Since I am descended from Scottish ancestors, this will be on my to-do list for future study. 🙂

I am quite fond of stravaging. I admit that I do it often! Those who know me are able to recognize my stravaging ways immediately. I am told my eyes glaze over and I may start humming a tune to myself, which drives people batty. But in my mind, I am having a jolly good time taking it all in. The scenery that is. I am not so worried about the destinations in life that I do not pay good mind to the journey. The journey after all is where it’s at. (whatever “it” may be) I have a tin plaque in my room that says, “I never worry when I get lost, I just change where I want to go.” A friend got it for me. Stravage is a good word of the day for me. Fits me to a “t”. Have a great Friday!

to those who stravage
some may think you’re a lost fool
 but you are seeking 

to be an artist
it helps to be an odd bird
with stravaging wit

delicate ivy
stravages up walls, clinging
destruction’s embrace

~kat – 10 March 2017

9 responses to “Stravage – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

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