Welcome to Withenay’s Wednesday Word: a wandering, wondering dip into the dictionary. The topics are always varied and rarely predictable!
clear-minded, astute, perceptive, discerning
from Latin perspicax, ultimately from per and specere to look
Perspicacious is another of my favourite words simply because of the way it rolls off the tongue. (Try saying it in the style of Simon Callow and you’ll see what I mean!) Unfortunately it rarely applies to me, but I hold it as an aspiration, a talent I plan to possess in my maturing years.
Perhaps it is the fug of parenthood that destroys being clear-minded. There once was a time when I was able to follow conversations from beginning to end, remembering them to recount to my husband later; whereas now I find I need to take notes if it is anything vaguely important. When it relates to my children then I need to have lots of paperwork placed in front of me, and the calendar to scribble on.
But maybe, in my own chaotic way, that is perspicacious? After all, I am perceptive enough to recognise that I need to know the information, and I need to keep it in order, and that I’m the only one who will organise the children into doing anything (other than to watch a screen of some description).
I also spend an inordinate amount of time discerning right from wrong, truth from lies. I don’t suppose I get it right all the time, but it did amuse me, when my children were younger, to watch their attempts to pull the wool over my eyes.
“Have you brushed your teeth?”
“Yes mum.” Dull look in eyes not matching the unconvincing smile.
“Should I go and check your toothbrush?”
Tragically as they’ve got older they’ve got a lot better at it. So perhaps discernment is not something I’ve mastered yet.
Above all, I associate perspicacious people with wisdom: somehow they are always right, and you just wish to be like them. A bit like my husband – but don’t tell him I’ve said that!