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An interesting word, that. Originally – as far as such things go – it was a noun, wilcuma, meaning ‘desired guest’. It then became an interjection, a statement of congeniality. We have visitors, and their presence is appreciated! Wilcuma! It then became a verb – I welcomed them – and an adjective – a welcome surprise.

You probably did not notice, but I actually greeted you with two words: ‘welcome’ and ‘!’. Our humble exclamation mark is, in fact, a ligature – meaning two or more characters artfully drawn together – of the letters I and O, forming the word ‘io’. It is a Latin exclamation of joy, now perhaps most known for its appearance in the second verse of the Yule carol Ding! Dong! Merrily On High. It is pronounced /ˈi.oː/, which, funnily enough, is pretty close to the modern yo. So … welcome, yo.

Before being judged, I would like to note that as far as I can tell, all definitions of ‘pretentious’ necessarily involves making something sound more impressive than it is. Calling the above pretentious would imply two things: a) that I am trying to sound impressive, b) that I am succeeding in some degree, since the scale starts at zero. Neither of these are true as a general rule. This is simply my style of prose. caveat lector.