Word of the Month – November 2014

“Propinquity”

David Zapatka

Thank you readers for the many e-mails, calls and supportive comments you offered in response to my first Word of the Month column. I am humbled and invigorated.

Reader and friend Suzanne Swanson called the day the Splash was delivered offering one of her favorite words.

“Propinquity” means nearness in place or time; the state of being close to someone or something; proximity.

The origin of “propinquity” is the Middle English word propinquite, from Latin propinquitat, propinquitas meaning kinship or proximity and propinquus meaning near or akin.

Here is an example from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. “Local housing prices, thanks to the propinquity of an especially picturesque beach, are out of the reach of many would-be buyers.”

This is another example from A Guide to Men written by Helen Rowland in 1922. “True love isn’t the kind that endures through long years of absence, but the kind that endures through long years of propinquity.” Does this ring true today as much as it did nearly 100 years ago?

“He kept his distance as though afraid propinquity might lead him into temptation” is excerpted from a Gospel Coalition article.

The propinquity effect is the tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often. This is apparent in schools, the workplace and retirement communities. Interactions are frequent in these situations and are a key indicator as to why we form friendships. In other words, friendships tend to form between those who have a high propinquity.

Thanks to Suzanne Swanson, “propinquity” has been added to my vocabulary.

Please submit any thoughts you may have on this month’s column or any word you may like to share with our readers along with your insights and comments to [email protected]