waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Discuss word origins and meanings.

waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:05 pm

Hans, You misread what I said. I said “the meanings of ‘wax’ in the expression ‘wax poetical,’ or ‘wax poetic,’ “to assume or reach a certain quality or state of development,” could perhaps be most simply encapsulated in the single word ‘become’” I specifically stated the particular usage and the specific definition associated with that usage and obviously was not talking in general because that is only one of the several usages of wax. I can assure you that I didn’t have the ‘waxing and waning of the moon’ or ‘the waxing of a progressive labor movement’ in mind. But I can see how a careless reading of what I said might lead one to your erroneous conclusion! (<:)
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Ken – July 9, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / . . .

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:20 pm

Ken, my previous posting didn't include those other usages of 'wax' either. Essentually, what I meant to say was that 'wax' in expressions like 'wax poetic' can be replaced with 'become' but they are not just synomyms. No reason for arguing about things that do not matter much in the general context of this thread ;)
Reply from Hans Joerg Rothenberger (Walenstadt - Switzerland)
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waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / . . .

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:34 pm

Hans, Not to belabor the point, but I guess it’s too late for that (<:), they are exactly synonyms in expressions like wax/waxing poetic (nostalgic, philosophical, nostalgic, indignant, . . .): in these expressions “wax/waxing = become/becoming” and I never implied that they were synonyms in general – that one could be replaced by the other. In your above posting you said that “Your elaborate [not quite sure why replacing a sentence by one word is considered ‘elaborate’!] way of putting it, however, comprises but doesn't explicitly mention the fact that 'become' often cannot just be replaced with 'wax.'” Well, you’re right, I don’t explicitly mention it. But since the particular usage was being narrowly defined, why would one need to? Enough (probably more than enough) said on this point! (<:)
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Ken – July 11, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / . . .

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:49 pm

I originally heard the term in a Barenaked Ladies' song, I thought that the term had something to do with waxing a record (music).

"I wax poetic as you're waxing your legs"... from the song "Blame it on Me". It's a good song, and a good use of the term. I suggest everyone look into it!
Reply from Curtis Horsburgh (Calgary - Canada)
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Waxing Philosophical

Post by hsargent » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:44 am

Waxing Philosophical means talking philosophical. But what is the Waxing? And can you Wax any thing else other than a table or car?
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Re: Waxing Philosophical

Post by Ozarkdesign » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:03 am

"Wax" as in candle wax and "wax" as in grow, or become, are two seperate words. The phrase means the person is "becoming" philosophical.
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Re: Waxing Philosophical

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:47 am

Waxing philosophical, waxing poetic and waxing lyrical are the other activities I can think of that exist as fairly well-known idioms.

I see no good reason why this set could not be expanded to include such things as waxing hysterical, waxing wistful and waxing automotive. (I have a neighbour who likes to do the last-named activity both physically and verbally).
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:12 am

Harry, I have merged your posting with the older ones on the same subject.
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Ken (a.k.a. Forum Moderator) – January 13, 2009
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by hsargent » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:48 pm

Thanks for finding this in the Archives. I did a search which was unsuccessful. I had not thought of the analogy to the phase of the moon.
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Shelley » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:03 pm

Mr. Miyagi's (karate) philosophy: "Wax on. Wax off."
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by trolley » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:57 pm

.... and quit waning about it.
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:35 am

Shelley wrote:"Wax on. Wax off."
Doesn't that have something to do with bikinis?
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Shelley » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:32 pm

Yes, and "Paint the Fence" has something to do with cosmetics! And I'm pretty sure "Sand the Floor" is about pedicures . . .
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by Logophillic » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:22 am

Wax, in this sense, just means “to begin to speak or write about something in the specified manner.”

So to wax nostalgic is to think about something nostalgically. Wax poetic/philosophic/lyrical is to think about something poetically/philosophy/lyrically. Another way of putting this would be through the use of words like “mull” or “muse”. So someone could be said to have “waxed philosophic” if “he mused on the day’s lessons philosophically, in an attempt to find greater meaning, application, and truth universal to mankind.” Or one could be “waxing nostalgic” if “she found herself lost in nostalgia while mulling over the kind words written directly to her, by her dearest of friends, within the encapsulated confines of the pages of her yearbook.”
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Re: waxing nostalgic / lyrical / poetic / philosophical / . . .

Post by trolley » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:55 am

Well waxed.
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