Word of the Day

andi (m)

“breath” or “soul/spirit/ghost”

This word immediately appeals to me because of its poetic quality of meaning both breath and ghost. When we think of ghosts, an idea of flimsy mist rolls around in our heads, sort of like the quality of breath as it escapes from the mouth and into air. This brings me to an interesting phrase:

“gefa upp andann” 

“give up the ghost”

Gefa” being “to give,” “upp” being “up” and “andann” being “the ghost.” Give up the ghost. BUT, we have to remember that the word “andi” can also mean breath. So, we can in turn creatively interpret this as giving up breath. If you didn’t know, “give up the ghost” is an idiom used as early as biblical times to express the idea of ceasing to cling to life, or dying. In modern times it can also be used to express giving up an idea or goal, or to stop trying to do something that you know will not denote success. So the image that comes to mind, with consideration to dying, is the slow uncurling of a last breath as it escapes into the air. The ghost escaping the body. In English this can be only imagined, but in Icelandic this can literally translate as such, depending on how you interpret the definitions of the word.

(andi pronunciation)

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