Wednesday’s Word: Doughty
This word has long been a favorite of mine. I can’t remember exactly when I first heard it, but I’m sure it was in a sentence something like, “he was a doughty fighter.” The word means persistent or brave or tough. In my mind in connotes a sort of “stick-to-it-ness”.
I suppose one of the best examples of it in books would be from the children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could”. Who can forget the tenacious train’s unflappable will to get those toys to the little children on the other side of the mountain? And he does just that all because he “thinks he can”. Quite the doughty little train.
Another character who exemplifies this quality would be Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days. During his adventures not storms, nor bandits, nor prison, nor even time itself seem to be able to stand in his way as the indefatigable Englishman pursues his mad quest to circumnavigate the globe. Verne describes him as “mathematical” and like clockwork in his pursuit of his one singular aim. At one point he writes,
He was passing methodically in his orbit around the world, regardless of the lesser stars which gravitated around him.
A doughty traveler if there ever was one.
I remember using this word once with a friend when I was in London. I think I was describing a soccer player or something and I referred to him as a “doughty fighter”, the expression I was familiar with. For some reason my friend found it humorous and it became a running joke between us to use when ever some difficulty came our way, that we should approach it like “doughty fighters”.
So if today you’re feeling a bit discouraged (as we all do from time to time), keep at it, dig deep, press on, and take it like a doughty fighter. Tomorrow is another day, and, as Senya says in one of my favorite lines from Into the Vast,
Never give up. Because giving up is only trading a small problem for a larger one. Everything, in the end, is passing.