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Take a Word.... Seat: Etymology, Definitions, Idioms, Somerset and Poems

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I love words; old words, new words, their etymology and idiomatic use. I like to highlight the variety of uses even common words offer.

Window Seat

Window Seat - the grandchildren can hide behind the curtains & store their toys underneath!

Window Seat - the grandchildren can hide behind the curtains & store their toys underneath!

Etymology of Seat

'Seat' comes from the:

  • Germanic - sit
  • Old Norse - saeti
  • Middle English - seat

The verb dates from the late 16th century.


Poetic Definitions

'Seat'

Of course it’s a chair, or a sofa or stool,

specifically the part where you sit.

Maybe you can gaze, study others who pass,

from a window seat, isn’t that cool?


Professors give lectures in famed seats of learning

like Oxford or Cambridge and others.

MPs have a safe seat in our Houses of Parliament,

not for long if the voters are turning!


A duke and a duchess will have their own mansion,

a country seat, settled and welcoming.

A businessman might have a seat on the board,

to help govern, an important stanchion.


The seat of the business, the HQ in London,

is where all decisions take place,

the seating arranged round a polished oak table,

make sure that you don’t come undone!


Then leisure might take you to theatres or flicks,

you book, you arrive, take your seat.

Box seats if you’re wealthy, an usher arrives,

making sure that you’re seated in ticks.


When travelling, the train or a bus might be crowded,

a kind man could give up his seat.

Make sure your umbrella doesn’t cause undue stress,

isn’t seated to prod - or you’re dead!


Socket Seated in the Wall

Seated Socket

Seated Socket

Deep-Seated Idioms

Some have such a deep-seated hatred

of those in the hot seat who rule.

Some don’t like the limelight, they take a back seat,

or, in the driving seat, like to control.


Some drive by the seat of their pants, they take chances,

try keeping their seats (bums) in place!

Some like to assemble an engine or sockets,

all seated correctly in space.


Some ride on a horse, a particular seat,

depending on purpose or poise.

Some like ‘bums on seats’ - a crowd who have paid

- to listen and make loads of noise!


Somerset

This is the county in which I live, a traditional cider-producing area in the South West of England. Acres of orchards used to decorate the land, their numbers now sadly depleted. Its name is derived from the ancient word ‘saete’, a settlement.

Somerton, a few miles from me, was the ancient regional town, then referred to as ‘Sumertun’ and thence the word ‘Sumer(tun)saete’, meaning the dwellers at the Summer settlement (or Summer’s seat), became Somerset.

It is a beautiful county and its people are kind and gentle. There is a more relaxed attitude to life here. There is much farmland, the limestone Mendip Hills, and still a few orchards (and therefore still gallons of cider!), as well as an intricate system of sluice gates and irrigation ditches called rhynes (pronounced ‘reens’). Without those, there would be far more floods as most of this region is below sea level and its west coast close to the sea.

Years ago, I found a poem in an old book about local railways. It’s anonymous and refers to all the counties of the south of England, but I’m going to quote the part referring to Somerset. It had no title so I have taken the liberty of giving it one.


Somerset is Home

It is here that the longest journeys end,

that the greatest wanderers come to rest at last.

The land of peace and stillness, this country, above all others,

has kept the spirit men call homeliness,

the spirit of warmth and welcoming.


Three things one finds here: an oldness, a kindness, and a wisdom.

Kind folk they are, with the kindest accent of any of our race,

wonderfully soft, yet firm, changeless.


Such is Somerset - a land full of a quiet, gentle beauty,

very old very close to Nature,

and so almost unchanging as the years slip by.


Anon

(from ‘Somerset Ways’ published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton Ken & Co Ltd, in conjunction with the Great Western Railway)

That poetry is a true portrayal of this land where I now have my home. I have also penned my own poem (below) to highlight all the aspects of the Somerset I love.


Marram Grass, through the Sand Dunes

Marram'd, Wind-swept Dunes down to the Sea

Marram'd, Wind-swept Dunes down to the Sea

Somerset Scenes

Criss-cross rhynes, blue-grey mirrors

swaying willows softly green reflecting;

Iris stretching yellow splashes

up towards her symmetry the sun;

Warblers nest in secret shelter,

‘mongst reeds and marsh behind the shifting sand;

Heron stands his statued vigil,

lightning-dives, and, broad-winged, flies away.


Wind-flattened grass, craggy lime

high above, and ever higher still

seagulls scream their precious freedom,

acrobats upon the swirling air.

Far below - rich burnt-red furrow,

Curlews on meadow, Martins on rippled sand;

Wind-whipped dunes surveying westward

Waves of mud-froth, flames at end of day.


Waving grass, waving waters,

divided by swathe of marram’d dune;

Waters, subdued, free the meadows,

Withies woven, orchards scattered wide;

Humans too their power wielding,

harvesting to eat and drink from land;

welcoming, soft-spoken, homely,

live, work, play and here forever stay.

© 2021 Ann Carr

Comments

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 05, 2021:

Thank you, Tuli, for reading and leaving your kind comment.

Ann

Tuli Banerjee from Kolkata on February 04, 2021:

How beautifully expressed! Lovely. Always a pleasure to read your article.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 04, 2021:

Ravi Rajan: I've just noticed I haven't acknowledged your comment, for which I apologise. Thank you for your kind words and I'm pleased you enjoyed this.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

Hi Devika! Glad this was food for thought. I appreciate your visit and your support.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

Chitrangada: Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Somerset is certainly worth a visit, as are so many places in England and Britain.

I hope you're keeping well.

Ann

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 02, 2021:

Annart you shared an interesting word and gave me lots to think about a word.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 02, 2021:

A wonderful and enjoyable read. I liked the interplay and interpretation of the word, 'seat.' Creative and thoughtful, and the poems are complimentary too.

Love the description of the place, where you live. Would love to visit, may be sometimes in future.

Thank you for sharing this thoroughly interesting read.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

manatita: I love the dunes around here. There are vast expanses of them, part golf-course, part wild, and lovely to walk through. Cheddar is indeed spectacular but I need to go again to take more photos that give a true picture of the height. That means climbing up the steps of Jacob's Ladder! Or driving the long way round...

Thanks for the visit and your kind comment. Stay safe.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

gyanendra: Glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and for leaving your kind words.

Ann

manatita44 from london on February 02, 2021:

Those maram'd wind-swept dunes look amazing! Lovely poems too and play on the word 'seat.' Been to Cheddar Gorge a couple of times. Very beautiful!

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on February 02, 2021:

Thank you Ann. No words to describe my feelings as I sail through line by line. Amazing!!!!!!!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

Miebakagh: Thank you for reading and leaving a comment; much appreciated.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

Thank you, Linda, for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I had fun putting it together and I love the derivation of my home county.

I hope you're keeping safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

Flourish: I love your 'seat at the table' too - thank you! I also appreciate that you like the 'whimsy' (which I aimed to get across) and that you found it fun. I find it fun writing this series.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 02, 2021:

I love 'seat of creativity'! Thank you for your kind words, Denise.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 02, 2021:

I agreed.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 01, 2021:

I love the way in which you explore the meaning of a word in your articles. Your poems and your photos are interesting and enjoyable to read and see.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 01, 2021:

You live in a beautiful part of the world, and I like the whimsy that you use. You'll always have a seat at the table when it comes to word choice and the English language. This was fun.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on February 01, 2021:

How beautiful and appropriate for the seat of creativity. This was a lovely tribute to a word and a place.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Thank you, Brenda, for your kind words and compliment. I like the way the 'train book' poem describes the people of Somerset; it's just right. Mine, I suppose, is more about the nature around us.

I appreciate your support and I love your comment about back seat driving etc. I've often been in the passenger seat and wanted to put the brake on!

Ann

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 01, 2021:

Ann,

This is a great article along with the poems.

Your home sounds amazing. I love a peaceful atmosphere.

Your poem sincerely outdoes the anonymous one. Great writing.

The seat poems are cute too...it reminded me of my boyfriend always saying I am a back seat driver...but actually I'm in the front passenger seat putting on my break.

Have a nice day.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

No worries! All very much appreciated Pamela.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 01, 2021:

I guess I am losing my mind, Ann. I knew I read your article, and I was typing a comment when my sister called. We talked for quite a while. Then, when I came back to the computer I didn't see my comment, so you got a second one. This is a wonderful article, so I don't feel bad about the second comment.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Thanks for your second visit, Pamela! If by antiques you mean the garden chair and bench, they were left here by the last owners. My grandchildren love the white chair and they put all the little creatures on it (bunnies, hedgehogs, and the green frog). I'm not allowed to move them so there they stay and they seem to enjoy it!

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Thank you, Eric, for such kind words. Glad you managed to have time to read it!

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 01, 2021:

Ann, I really love this article. Your play on "seat" is so clever, and it is so enjoyablt to read. I love the antiques you show in your pictures also.

I think Somerset is probably a lovely place to live. Your have painted such a beautiful picture using your words. You are so gifted, Ann. Thank you for sharing this lovely article.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 01, 2021:

Thank you so much for this Ann it is a true delight. I was glad to have time to put I butt in a chair and leave it there for this reading.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

How kind you are, Pamela. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. I always enjoy writing for this series. I hope you have a great week too and that you're keeping safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Miebakagh: Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Well, thank you Dora, for your beautiful words! No one has said my work is 'refreshing' before and I think that's a lovely thing, so thanks for that compliment too.

Hope you're keeping safe and well, Dora.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 01, 2021:

This is a very interesting article. I love all the play on the words seat, and you could not have done a better job writing this article. Thanks for sharing, Ann! Have a wonderful week.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Hello Peggy! Thank you; I'm glad you enjoyed this. I have so many photos of Somerset that I had to take out a few - I went over the top!

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on February 01, 2021:

Ann, I found the article very interesting. You skillfully handle the word 'seat." Like when you write the "seat of the business" or head quarters. Thanks also for sharing in poetic form.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 01, 2021:

There are so many excellent features to this article. I love, love the prose word portrait of Somerset, plus your poetic description, and the various meanings of the word. Beautiful, eye-opening and refreshing!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 01, 2021:

You do live in a beautiful part of England. Thanks for sharing the many uses of the word "seat" and also your poetry. I enjoyed the photos as well.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 01, 2021:

Thanks for sharing. I love the interesting interplay of words here that have created an incredible rhapsody of images.

Thanks

Ravi

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Mary: I'm so glad I gave you two new words. That's what I'm about!

Bath is beautiful, isn't it? No doubt you visited Cheddar Gorge and a few other places as well, then - maybe Glastonbury and/or Wells? There is so much to choose round here. You'll have to come back and see a bit more! Let me know if you do.

Keep safe and well, Mary.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

mactavers: Thank you very much. I haven't seen you for a while so it's great to have your visit today. Thanks for the compliment.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Thank you, bill. I'm forever grateful for your kind support. Glad you enjoyed this too.

This is a beautiful area and full of places to visit, be they natural or man-made. Then, of course, we have the water too!

I hope you have a great February too, bill.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2021:

Years ago, we had a conference in Bath and my husband and I drove around your area. It is so beautiful. I enjoyed your use of the word, seat. I also learned two new words, stanchion and rhynes. Thank you.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2021:

Thank you, Sha! So lovely to see you this afternoon and I'm glad you enjoyed this. I do love Somerset. I yearned to get back to my beloved Sussex before I came here but now, though I still love the area of my childhood, I don't want to live there anymore. This is my home. It suits my age!

I love 'beamed off the page"! Thank you for that.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

mactavers on February 01, 2021:

Wonderful play on words.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 01, 2021:

I don't know what I love more, the various meanings and uses of "seat," or your description of the lovely Somerset. Both are magnificent in their own way.

You know I love this series. I hope it continues. I now also love Somerset, and I will leave this comment and then go look for photos of your area so I can appreciate it even more.

Bravo my friend! You delivered once again!

Happy February to you, Ann!

bill

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 01, 2021:

Ann, I love what you've done with a simple four-letter word. You've given it life. "Seat" has many definitions, as you so expertly illustrated in your clever poetry.

Your pride in Somerset comes forth through your words. I felt it across the pond as it beamed off the page.

Great job, my friend!

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