Riveting Stuff!

Have you ever noticed that riveting can have two meanings? It can mean fascinating, but also the action of fixing rivets (metal pins) to a surface (I was thinking about this recently after hearing someone talk about the riveters who worked on the Titanic). It might seem odd that it can have these two meanings, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

A rivet fixes something in place, and if you’re riveted by something, you’re fixed in place by it, as you can’t look away. Both words come from the Old French river, meaning to clench, fix, or fasten. If you think about it, lots of synonyms for riveting are similarly about our powerlessness in the face of what we’re riveted by. To fascinate originally meant to put under a spell. To entrance is similar, as it to enthrall, which literally means to enslave. Captivating of course is also similar, meaning to be made captive.

Anyway, it’s Sunday, so I think that’s enough fascinating information for this day of rest!

4 thoughts on “Riveting Stuff!

  1. I once heard a judge giving his judgement in an occupational injury claim case. He summarised the claimant’s work task approximately ‘She took one component from bin A and another from bin B and performed her riveting job on it – actually it doesn’t sound at all riveting’.

    Liked by 1 person

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