The word vilify is derived from the word vile. It means to talk about something in “an abusively disparaging manner.” It’s often misspelled as villify, because it reminds people of the word villain.
She approached it cautiously, holding her sword out in front of her. She had heard her elders vilifying vinetrees, but when she studied it, she wasn’t sure why. The knot of twisted vines gleamed in the sunlight. It spiraled up in an intricate pattern, bursting out at the top and cascading towards the grass. Silver berries hung from all the vines, creating a jeweled canopy.
How could a tree this beautiful be a villain?
The word vicious (meaning malevolent, savage, or fierce) is sometimes confused with viscous, which describes a sticky liquid that does not flow freely.
Suddenly one of the vines came whipping towards her, wrapping snugly around her waist. Another vine darted down and snagged her by the shoulder. Her sword arm was still free, so she hacked viciously at the vines as she backed away.
Other vines viciously flung silver berries at her face. She could smell the sweet scent of the berries as they burst open on her cheeks.
More vines wrapped around her, but some of them were weakening from her blows. As she sliced through the vines, their viscous sap seeped out and splattered on her. She could feel herself getting stickier and stickier. Some of the sap landed in her mouth. It tasted exactly like maple syrup.
“Vanessa!” shouted a voice. It was her mother.
The fight was becoming desperate. Would she be victorious?
“Vanessa!” came her mother’s voice again. “Stop playing with that spatula, it’s time for dinner.”
Vanessa dropped her sword arm and ran back down the hall towards the kitchen. Blueberry pancakes were her favourite, and she didn’t want them to get cold.
Image of ancient olive tree by Dennis Koutou from Wikimedia Commons
This post is dedicated to my son, who has been invaluable in helping me come up with story ideas. Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for Monday’s post, where I will whisk away the wishy-washy letter W…