Word Up!

Word Up!

Or just "Word," it means the same thing

The road leading to Death Valley National Park

Do you ever hear a word or phrase and wonder what its real meaning is? Or a term that makes sense because you've heard it all your life, but when you think about it, it's jibberish? Yea, me also!

Above, I wrote "me also" after changing it from "me too" because me too has a different meaning now than it had only a few years ago. And that is what this essay is about - the hidden meaning of words and phrases. What got me on this word-meaning junket was an article I read on things that Americans say that non-Americans hate. At the top of the list was "Break a leg," which I visualize as wishing someone to go out and break a bone. I know it means "good luck," but it seems kinda twisted to me.

"Literally" is on the list too. I mean, literally on the list. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Americans say "literally" for emphasis, whether needed or not. Anyway, if you want to read all seventeen idioms and phrases, the article is here. A funny one is how Americans count the ground floor as the first floor. Whereas the first floor, almost everywhere else, is our second floor. Confusing, isn't it?

All This got me thinking about one of my favorite idioms from my youth, "Word up." You likely remember the song by Cameo. It was so catchy and danceable. Hearing it takes me straight back to the mid-80s, the era of MTV and dance clubs. At some point, "Word" became the shortened version of "Word up." Still, hearing someone say "word up" or only "word" seems kinda odd.

An internet dive for the origins of "Word up" doesn't turn up much info from solid sources. The best I could find is that it is a shortened version of the phrase "My word is my bond." Which most likely originated in urban city centers. Over time it became a way to show agreement or that someone was speaking the truth. I also ran across the idea that it is a shorthand greeting for "What's the word?"

Since interweb searches didn't turn up anything solid, I looked at the lyrics for the song by Cameo. Two things jumped out. One was the line -

"Mama, come on baby, tell me what's

The Word, ah – word up"

So that lines up with the shorthand greeting, "What's the word." The second thing was the line -

"Word up, it's the code word,

No matter where you say it,

You'll know that you'll be heard."

Which is what the phrase means to me. It's a code word. If you know it and say it, those who matter will hear you. If you want more, here is a link to the Cameo video on YouTube.

I'll close by saying - Word.

I have three photos to share with you today. Up top is the road that leads to Death Valley National Park. If a photo could show wind, you would see a lot of it in this picture. You know me, and I am passionate about the roads I travel, so I often photograph them.
Down below, top, I thought was an interesting break in the mountains that reveals the hill behind it. There is nothing too exciting about it. It was fun to edit, though, with the variations in light.
And finally, at the bottom, Do you ever have that sinking feeling that the weather is about to get nasty? Right after I made this exposure, it started to snow. Yup, snow in the desert. It didn't stick for long, but it did slow me down a bit.

A Break in the mountains shows the hills behind them

You can see the road I drove out on. Ahead was a mountain pass and - snow