Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What's in a Name?

So why am I calling this blog “Put it to Bed?”

Short answer—“Finishing School” was taken. Longer, better answer—being forced to dig deeper helped me more clearly define what I wanted to write about. And “Wrap it Up?” Taken, too.

After “Put it to Bed” crawled to the front of my brain, and I found it available, I googled it to see what it might connote for others.

The Free Dictionary site-- shopping for this blogger-on-a-mission, gave me the following information.

According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs ( ©2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.), to put something to bed is

to complete work on something and send it on to the next step in production, especially in publishing.”

Looking further (two lines down on the aforementioned site), I found the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006) take on the term, which informed me that

“[i]f you put something that is printed, for example a book or a magazine [or a blog] to bed, you finish writing it.” 

So far, so good. And since much of what I have left undone to this point consists of partially written pieces of varying sizes, genre and import, I liked where this was going.

The same source-within-a-source went on to offer these three definitions, the first and most generic of which was

"to finish dealing with something

followed by

to get a newspaper, magazine, or book ready to be printed…"


"to clean a garden after the plants have died.” 

Now we were getting somewhere.

A quick search for synonyms and antonyms--on a whole different site! up this promising family of related words and expressions:

put to bed - 5 of 5 thesaurus results
Main Entry: close
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: complete, finish, stop
Synonyms: button down, button up, call it a day, call off, cap, cease, clear, clinch, conclude, consummate, culminate, cut loose, determine, discontinue, do, drop the curtain, end, fold, fold up, halt, pack it in, put a lid on, put to bed, sew up, shut down, shutter, terminate, ultimate, wind down, wind up, wrap up
Antonyms: begin, continue, not finish, open, start

Main Entry: complete
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: carry out action
Synonyms: accomplish, achieve, actualize, bring to fruition, bring to maturity, call it a day, cap, carry off, close, conclude, consummate, crown, determine, develop, discharge, do, do thoroughly, effect, effectuate, elaborate, end, equip, execute, fill, finalize, finish, fulfill, furnish, get through, go the limit, go through with, go whole hog, halt, make good, make up, perfect, perform, put to bed, realize, refine, round off, round out, settle, sew up, supplement, terminate, ultimate, wind up, wrap up
Antonyms: forget, give up, halt, ignore, neglect, stop

Main Entry: conclude
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: finish, come to an end
Synonyms: achieve, bring down curtain, call it a day, cease, cinch, clinch, close, close out, complete, consummate, crown, desist, draw to close, end, halt, knock off, put the lid on, put to bed, round off, stop, terminate, top off, ultimate, wind up, wrap up
Antonyms: begin, commence, introduce, preface, start

Main Entry: consummate
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: achieve, finish
Synonyms: accomplish, button down, call a day, can*, carry out, clean up, clinch, close, come, come through, compass, complete, conclude, crown, drop curtain, effectuate, end, fold up, get it together, go the distance, halt, knock off, mop up, perfect, perform, polish off, put away, put finishing touch on, put lid on, put to bed, sew up, sign, take care of, terminate, top it off, ultimate, wind up, wrap, wrap up
Antonyms: neglect
* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: print
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: produce writing, impression; reproduce
Synonyms: compose, disseminate, engrave, go to press, impress, imprint, issue, let roll, letter, mark, offset, publication calligraph, publish, put to bed, reissue, reprint, run off, set, set type, stamp, strike off
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition
Copyright © 2009 by the Philip Lief Group.

And that’s what I want to talk about…

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