The word “sincere” mean without wax.
Well, we use it to mean believability, but “sin-” means without and “cere” means wax.
You see, long ago, when the best container for holding liquids was made of some sort of fired clay, of unknown quality and skill, it was totally easy to mess up and crack one of these containers.
Not like having engineered, mass-produced, tempered glass, at all.
Even the vendors and potters, themselves, could accidentally cause a small crack to occur in the product.
A rather useful way to fix this problem, back then, was to pour melted wax over it and let it soak in, to seal it, buff the wax to make it shine, and if no one noticed, you could pass the container off as whole.
Not a cracked pot.
The trouble often came, though, that when a homemaker poured hot liquid into one of these waxed pots, she would discover a leak and realize what she had: damaged goods. She might not know whether she bought it that way, or bumped it herself, unless she could observe wax floating atop the liquid.
She might not discover it until the next morning.
She never could prove she had not waxed it, herself, though, so never could get any satisfaction, aside from spreading the news to her friends, to help them avoid this vendor.
While she might enjoy that as payback, she still needed a new pot. One that was without wax, “sincere”.
I recently signed a letter “sincerely” and immediately thought of the word history. I asked myself: Really? Am I sincere? Am I laying a coating over cracks in my believability? Am I pretending? Is this the truth? If not, will I be discovered?
I did not answer. Maybe I did not like the answer. Instead, I wrote this post.
Maybe I’m a cracked pot? Should I avoid all heated content? Is there any other way to fix it besides waxing it over?
4 thoughts on “Wax Wanes”
Very interesting etymology there! I will think of this every time I sign “sincerely” also. I am definitely a cracked pot, but I know the best Wax available!
Ha! Victoria, you read my mind. There is Someone Who knows how to fix crackpots like me! 🙂
I feel the same way. Am I without wax? I try to be as real in my blog as I am in real life. I don’t want to hide behind internet anonymity. But am I? Soul-searching an awful lot lately, hence my lack of regular posts.
Although I have missed you, I love your comments here — like curb service! 😀