Not familiar with this word’s meaning? Don’t kick yourself too hard – up until a few months ago, neither was I, and it’s only just starting to catch on.
I knew this word as a name, first; the surname of a minstrel known to his friends, author, and multiple worlds as Gant-o’-the-Lute. Yes, Lute is technically a fictional character, and “Gant” is not what one might call a real word. You could say I made it up. I prefer to say I discovered it.
The word was first utilized in the third novel of a fairytale-inspired series I call “The Wilderhark Tales”. (Not published yet, but oh-ho, it will be.) At the time, and for a good year or two afterward, I didn’t know what the name meant – or what most of the names in the book meant, for that matter. Handy and beloved as my faithful, raggedy “20,001 Names for Baby” book is, it kind of falls down on the job when it comes to baring the etymology of names like Cellodran, Theobon, etc. But eventually, curiosity prompted me to ruminate on the matter, and at last, it came to me:
A root word meaning “great”, from which such words as “gargantuan” and “gigantic” originated.
I actually had to groan a little when I learned this. The name was all too apt for my self-professed marvel of a minstrel. The man’s arrogance (hmm, “arrogant”… another derivative?…) is – by turns, and sometimes simultaneously – endearing, infuriating, entertaining, and… wholly justified, I am repeatedly forced to admit. His exploits in his introductory book alone make me question why I didn’t immediately doubt his pure humanity, and I really should have known something was up by Book Four, but what can I say? I’m oblivious. Not for lack of clues staring me in the face, it wasn’t until I was prepping to write one of my latest magnum opera*, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”**, that I realized exactly how fantastically Gant Lute truly is – or at least got a better understanding of some of the reason behind it.
Now, what the linguists of Lute’s world may not know is that my friends and I have adopted another, slang term for the word “Gant”: A verb referring to a bright rotation of color in ones eyes, typically from blue to gray to green and back again, as an indication of excitement. Lute’s eyes do this, as his son’s have also been known to do, if less frequently. Due to the color stipulation, Ganting eyes are a pretty rare phenomenon. If all you’ve got going is excited shine and sparkle, however, feel free to say that your eyes are “foxing”; it’s what all the hip-happenin’ young authors that I either am or converse with as many hours per week as we can get away with say.
Leaving one’s stamp on the vernacular: One facet of many of the Authorial Dream.
*Talk about learning something new everyday: I wasn’t aware that the plural for “opus” was “opera” until I just now looked it up for proper usage in this blog piece. I would have guessed “opusi” or something, and would have been dead wrong. So yeah, you want to discuss multiple literary or artistic masterpieces? “Magnum opera”. …Or “opuses”. But that doesn’t sound as awesome.
**Also not yet published, also gonna be. And if you haven’t yet checked out the Facebook page I created for “Ballad”, then one of us is missing out! Go see! Go “like”! Go team! (I like lists of three, I justify.)