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March 21, 2007

Do things ever bode badly?

The other day someone told me that something "didn't bode well." And it made me wonder. Does the word "bode" every get used when it isn't followed by the word "well." Do things bode badly? Can you ask, "How does it bode?"

Are there any other words that are only used in combination with other specific words? It's like "bode" is the "Q always needs a U" of the word world.

Word Nerds of the World Unite and help me out here.

Posted by jason on March 21, 2007 01:59 PM


I say "bodes good" or "done did bode good" sometimes, but then again, I am from the south (of Delaware)

Posted by: jaysonjaz on March 21, 2007 04:20 PM

i've always thought bode miller should have done one of those milk commercials. then they could have said "milk: it does a bode good."

Posted by: SnakeMan on March 21, 2007 07:58 PM

and you can definitely ask someone how it is boding. as in, "yo, dude, how bodes it?" or "hey, my man, how it be boded with you?"

those are common greetings in wilmington.

also, for the record, bode is the past tense of bide. this is why beau biden has a funny name.

Posted by: SnakeMan on March 21, 2007 08:05 PM

really? past tense of bide? because people don't use it that way, they use it in the present tense. "That doesn't bode well." Not "That didn't bode well."

Posted by: jason on March 21, 2007 08:08 PM

It can be used both ways. I've seen it used both ways.

Posted by: SnakeMan on March 21, 2007 08:15 PM

yeah I have too. Which means it's past and present!

Posted by: jason on March 21, 2007 08:22 PM

ok I looked up the definition and the example sentence was, "These signs bode bad news."

So I guess my whole thesis was wrong. But I've never heard or read it used that way.

Posted by: jason on March 21, 2007 08:28 PM

lol for bode miller jokes snakeman.

Posted by: bsweber on March 22, 2007 03:16 AM

although he only drinks milk if it has alcohol in it.

Posted by: bsweber on March 22, 2007 03:17 AM

mmm, dairy car bombs...

Posted by: SnakeMan on March 22, 2007 11:31 PM

I feel that there is a negative, almost ominous connotation associated with the word "bode" (as in "foreBODing").
So, I looked it up. Here's what dictionary.com has to say:

bode /boʊd/ verb, bod·ed, bod·ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to be an omen of; portend: The news bodes evil days for him.
2. Archaic. to announce beforehand; predict.
–verb (used without object)
3. to portend: The news bodes well for him.

So, a thing can either bode well, or badly. Think of it as a synonym for "predict" or "forecast". I think in common usage, people really only talk about things that "bode well" or "do not bode well" because that is one of the only syntaxes for that word that has survived. It would be strange if, in daily conversation I said, "If the rain holds off and we get a sunny spring, that will bode a good harvest for our garden." People would think I'm even stranger than they already think I am...

Posted by: Susan on March 26, 2007 12:12 PM

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