Insinewate – insinuate – inSin(n)ewate

I’ve been playing with the word ‘insinuate’ with its sinewy textures and feels, and it seems to me that great deal is happening in the body, and in our resultant meanings. when we use this word.

Part of the joy of the word is the way in which it can be sounded, rewritten and rearranged to demonstrate the relation between the active engaging body and meaning. So, even in the examples in the title we can see the play on the homophonic (in English) ‘sinu’ and ‘sinew’ and then, with the introduction of the German ‘Sinn’ we get a broad notion of meaning (Bedeutung), but also of feeling (Gefühl) and to become aware of (wittern).  The perceiving, feeling sinewy body makes sense of its world, and never alone; it is inter-objective and enkinaesthetically interwoven with other organisms making sinewy sense with its world.  (Gendlin would call this “whole-body-environment” sense-making.)

The Latin root of ‘insinuate’ is sinuo, sinuare which means ‘to curve’, ‘bend into a curve’, or ‘to swell out in curves’.  The German for ‘sinew’ is ‘Sehne‘ or ‘Flechse’. The current English usage ‘sinew’ comes from these roots through Old English ‘sinewe’, and means to strengthen and pull into shape or form. It is this form that with our sinewy yet sensitive engagement brings forth a world with meaning for us.

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