I must say the Daily Post’s prompts are very thought-provoking: first “craving“, now “praise“. And like before, I shall first and foremost consider its etymology.

Google is the source of my information today as they rather helpfully provided the following timeline: from Latin pretium (price) via Late Latin pretiare to Old French preisier (to prize or praise), and from there into Middle English praisePretium happened to be on my vocabulary list for Latin, and I was glad to see it come up again – it was like greeting an old friend.

Due to the influence of Latin on English via Old French brought over by the invasion of 1066, it was quite common to remember Latin vocabulary by associating it with English derivatives, such as mare (sea) and marinerPretium I remembered by associating it with pretty as, rather helpfully, to pay a pretty price is a relatively well-known idiom in English and helped me forge the mental link between pretium and price. Etymologically though, I now know that pretty and pretium have nothing to do with each other, as the former actually derives from the Old English prættig, meaning cunning, skilful, artful, which in turn comes from the Proto-Germanic *pratt- (another thing I have learned today is that Proto-Germanic has been, at least partially, reconstructed).

If all you were looking for is factual information, you may wish to stop here. What follows is far more subjective: a brief discourse on my own thoughts about praise.

Praise is certainly something all of us crave, and a lack of it can be dangerous to people’s mental health as it lowers one’s self esteem. I always endeavour to praise others and their work if I can – with the epidemic of mental ill-health raging through the first-world population, it’s the least I can do. Unfortunately, it is the case that many do not realise that problems often occur due to cumulative little things: a few too many harsh words or sleepless nights greatly increase one’s risk of mental issues. That is why the folk wisdom of “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all” is a very good principle to live by.

Personally, I find no praise greater than when it concerns something I have made myself; it brings me incredible happiness and leaves wonderful, warm memories.

Theta

Pretium et avaritia miseria mundi sunt.

Price and greed are the woe of the world.

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