I do this odd thing for the sheer joy of it. I collect be-prefix words.
All year long, while I read, I stop and copy words to the front
page of my journal. When the journal is full, I look at my
beribboned and bejeweled treasury.
Just in case there is someone else like me, I try to use be-words
in my writing, to bestow on them the joy I’ve betaken.
On an especially good day, I might make up a new be- word.
Now, I am fond of other prefixes.
Enfold, endear, enlivened, encourage…
I might start a new page in the back for en- words.
What does the “be-” do?
It means thoroughly, completely, to make.
It adds intensity.
When I looked it up, I discovered a new be- word:
bethwacked, “to thrash soundly.”
(imagine my hands and fingers flying in excitement)
Two be-prefix words are so common, we almost don’t see them.
Beloved. Greatly loved. More loved than loved.
Become. More than come; to come to be.
What about betray?
Add be- to the Latin tradere,
from trans – “across” + dare – “to give.”
Last year I was beguiled by —
behither (George Herbert)
befogged (Nora Waln)
bedraggled (D.E. Stevenson)
benumbed (Kathleen Norris)
beholden (Anthropologie line)
betokened (L.M. Montgomery)
bespectacled (Leo Marks)
bedecking (Jan Karon)
becalmed (Stewart O’Nan)
setbacks which bedevil modern life (Alain deBotton)
unbeknownst (Joanna Cannan)
bewail (Wendell Berry)
courageous and befitting (?)
bewigged (Elizabeth Goudge)
becalmed (Arabian Nights)
One of my favorites:
befriend, to cause to be friends.