Beautility

“From a pragmatic point of view, for something to be beautiful, it has to work. In order to make this idea clearer I have combined the ideas of beauty and function into one word: Beautility.” — Tucker Viemeister

The Internet is rife with articles that discuss untranslatable words from foreign languages and new words that we are creating and entering into English vocabulary (my personal favorite from this particular list is procaffinating. I do it daily). The English language is pretty much a Pokémon — it’s constantly changing and evolving in order to suit our needs. While this somewhat makes English hard to learn with the constant influx of new vocabulary and occasional modifications in grammatical structure, I think overall it is wonderful that there is a globally-employed language that can be modified in order that we may better communicate our ideas. Current English is such a mélange of different words and vocabulary coming from French, German, Dutch (which I’ve found is surprisingly easy to understand when one knows English), Spanish, Greek… It is the conglomeration of so many influences from different languages around the world and it is right to consider it an international language.

So with my little discourse on language, it is no surprise that I wholeheartedly support Tucker Viemeister’s creation of a new word to fit his needs, even if those needs are to save him about 0.62 seconds of breath and effort in completing the phrase, “beautiful and functional.” He ought to go further in creating a whole dictionary entry based on this word.

beautility (adj.) — the state or quality of being both beautiful and functional.

The Impressionist-style office was designed with beautility in mind. 

beautile (adj). — being both beautiful and useful.

Her handbag was really beautile. It completed nearly everything she wore and carried everything she could ever need. 

He can continue it on his own. I am neither Merriam nor Webster.

But Viemeister’s idea of beautility is one that speaks to me on so many levels. I love finding beauty around me, in nature especially. I like to be surrounded by objects and colors that are aesthetically pleasing. However, I must also say that I absolutely hate dusting and cleaning, and will avoid these undesirable tasks as long as I can, so having a lot of stuff in the house is not ideal. Still, like the parakeet that I am, I’m attracted to pretty, shiny things. My husband just wants anything that’s functional, while beauty can just go right out the window. Thank God he loves the Louis XIII-style furniture is parents are letting us use, which fits in wonderfully with my love of Elizabethan, Georgian, and Victorian stuff. Really, anything between 1700 and 1900 captures my eye.

Returning to beautility, our house is entirely made up of things that are both beautiful and functional. I don’t think I yet have anything that is simply there because it’s pretty. Our garden, which is still in the process of being overhauled and replanted, will be made up of functional plants; that is, plants that give food. We have no use for flowers on their own when my rosemary plant provides pretty little purple blossoms for me to look at. Our vegetable garden has everything we could ever want — bell peppers (capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgettes), pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, green beans, and many other items that we love. Our property is dotted with various fruit trees: apples, pears, plums, quetches, cherries, and a new apricot tree to top it off. Each of them flowers in the spring, filling our yard with an irresistable aroma and beautifying the entire property. I delighted in walking around our weed-filled, chaotic yard in order to smell the different flowers this spring. We even have a raspberry bush and plan on planting blueberries, blackberries, and more raspberry bushes later. While I enjoy the flowering season for its aesthetics, I am constantly reminded that each of these plants serves a purpose; that is, to provide food to my husband and myself. They are primarily functional; the beauty is just a bonus.

Our philosophy is born out of an appreciation for simple living, a real need to be frugal. Everything we have serves a purpose. It is not just a collection of junk. We don’t have any days where we feel so bogged down by our stuff that we can’t function. We have no days where we do a full overhaul of the house and begift our cast-offs to Goodwill. We have what we need and we need what we have. Stuff is stressful. Stuff with a purpose is useful. If it can be pretty, too, then I’m all for it.

So, I appreciate that Viemeister has created this word that sort of embodies my husband’s and my approach to life. He’s working toward designing things that are both beautiful and functional and, in the process, he has enriched our language with a new word that has a good reason for being there.

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