Wordy Wednesday – “Fancy free”

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First things first, answers to Monday’s Mystery: 1. Robert Greene in A Groatsworth of Wit (1592), 2. J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, 3. Sir Francis Bacon, Elizabethan author, scientist and general wit, 4. Leo Tolstoy, 19th century Russian novelist, 5. Ellen Terry, a famed Shakespearean actress of the 19th century, 6. Voltaire, French political thinker and satirical writer. How many did you get?

And now… Wordy Wednesday!

My sister used the phrase “footloose and fancy-free” this morning, and after looking it up, I realize that it was from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A perfect entry for a Wordy Wednesday post!

Actually, only the “fancy free” part comes from Shakespeare:

But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

It appears in a speech by Oberon, the fairy king. The phrase means without cares, commitments or responsibilities. It means the same thing when you add the “footloose” at the beginning, but this originated in the 20 century – way after Shakespeare’s time.

Of course, “footloose” is also the title of the classic Kevin Bacon film, in which he plays a great dancer hemmed in by small town rules.

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