Love for Words – Whence
December 30, 2013
___ ‘From where’ quantifies the meaning behind the tiny and dramatic word whence.
Dictionary.com defines “whence” and gives usage examples:
1. from what place?: Whence comest thou?
2. from what source, origin, or cause?: Whence has he wisdom?
American Heritage Dictionary defines “whence” and gives usage examples:
1. From where; from what place: Whence came this traveler?
2. From what origin or source: Whence comes this splendid feast?
So basically, Whence means ‘from where.’ It presents an intensity, or a bit o’ flair.
— She arrived safely to the new town, and promised herself not to return whence she came.
— He did not ask whence his business partner attained the diamonds at an incredibly low cost.
— Whence did he become so jaded?
Historical usage includes “from whence,” as well as “whence.” Modern etymologists argue over use of the former. Many discourage it, as ’tis redundant. Others support using it as an added dramatic tone. (From whence did he come so jaded?)
Think of ways you may replace using “from where” to “whence.” Could you give three examples?
This Jacquée T. Writer in Residence featured Word is brought to you by supporting sponsors including Wheatland Antique Mall in Topeka Kansas.
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