Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Anthropomorphize -- attribute human qualities to things not-human


anthropomorphize (an-thruh-puh-MOR-fyz) verb tr., intr.
To attribute human qualities to things not human.
[From Greek anthropo- (human) + morph (form).]

"Yes, we love our pets and anthropomorphize them to the point where we think our cat might enjoy wearing the mouse hat Halloween costume."
--Natalie Angier; The Ambivalent Bond With a Ball of Fur; The New York Times; Oct. 2, 2007.

I've always been struck by the [almost silly] anthropomorphizations in the Paul McCartney tune, Bad to Me, that was a hit for Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas in 1963.

The birds in the sky would be sad and lonely
if they knew that I'd lost my one and only.
They'd be sad, if you're bad to me.

The leaves on the trees would be softly sighin'
If they heard from the breeze that you left me cryin'
They'd be sad, don't be bad to me


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