Once upon a time, I had a tough time coming up with a screen name for America Online that was both legal (in the syntactical sense) and unused! Bill? Nope. William? Nope. Patterson? Nope. WWP? Nope. WWPatterson? Nope. WPatterson? Nope. William? Nope. Etc. Nope. Etc. Etc. Nope. Nope. So I thought, considering my lifelong affinity for the Tree of Heaven (That Darn Weed!), how about Ailanthus? Nope! Somebody had even taken that!
But I had a brainstorm, with a capital BR! How about the Esperanto word for Ailanthus? Ailanto! ACCEPTED! Apparently there was nobody on America Online interested in both Esperanto AND Ailanthuses. (Ailanthae?) HA!
I liked the name so I continued to use it, even on other systems, and long after I'd left AOL.
It had become my Netname.
|Some would frown upon my use of the word affinity up there. In ye olden days, affinity could only be used to describe a reciprocal relationship, and the appropriate preposition to follow affinity would be between or with, depending on context. A Dictionary of American-English Usage (Based on Fowler's Modern English Usage), states that "In places where with is felt to be inappropriate, the truth is that affinity has been used of a one-sided relation and should itself be replaced by another word." Bill Bryson agrees in Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, but too much of his advice is personal bias (as he often (but not quite often enough) admits). The Encarta World English Dictionary, often suspect, wherein political correctness often trumps lexicographical correctness, happens to agree with me this time. The number one definition of affinity is a "feeling of identification, a natural liking for or inclination toward somebody or something, or a feeling of identification with somebody or something." And since that's how I've seen affinity used during the decades in which I've been old enough to notice such things, I'll feel free to use it in this manner. If pressed, I'll just argue that Ailanthus trees have a natural liking for me too, try to prove otherwise!|