Monday, 14 July 2014


“It is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the kudos belongs to our ancestors.” – Plutarch

Have you noticed that some words seem to come into fashion and everyone uses them for a while all of the time? Everywhere you go, all you talk to seem to be forever using that word, aptly or not, correctly or incorrectly and one gets a little tired of the thing! I am currently developing an allergy towards the word “kudos”. Previous to this I had developed quite an adverse reaction to the word “issue”, especially as used in the sense of problem, bug, snag, hitch, drawback, stumbling block, obstacle, hurdle, hiccup, setback, catch; predicament, plight; misfortune, mishap… Then before that, the word “basically”, with which people used to pepper their conversation, but as Plato said, “Pepper is small in quantity and great in virtue.” And so should be used sparingly…

kudos |ˈk(y)oōˌdōs; -ˌdōz; -ˌdäs| noun: praise and honour received for an achievement.
ORIGIN: late 18th century from Greek: Κῦδος
USAGE Kudos comes from Greek and means ‘glory’, especially on the battlefield. Despite appearances, it is not a plural form. This means that there is no singular form *kudo* and that use as a plural, as in the following sentence, is incorrect: he received *many kudos* for his work (correct use is | he received much kudos for his work).

So many users of the word use it incorrectly and seeing there are so many other, more familiar (and therefore more likely to be used correctly) words to use in its place: Praise, glory, honour, status, standing, distinction, fame, celebrity; admiration, respect, esteem, acclaim, prestige, cachet, credit, full marks, bravo, etc… Despite the many synonyms available, this word seems to be used indiscriminately as it has an attractive appearance and it rolls off the tongue…

It’s interesting how the opposite of kudos, the word “aidos” (Αἰδώς) does not get much air time… “Aidos” means shame, dishonour, lack of pride. It’s not a popular thing…

The inscription on the painting above is in Greek and says: “Achilles great glory (read “kudos”!) of the Greeks”. The painting is a fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion Palace at Corfu, Greece. The artist is Franz Josef Karl Edler von Matsch (also known simply as Franz von Matsch or Franz Matsch; 16 September 1861, Vienna — 5 October 1942, Vienna). He was an Austrian painter and sculptor in the Jugendstil style.

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