Word Enrichment: Origin of Blitz

Last night, my 17-year-old told me he would probably miss dinner tonight because they would be having fundraising blitz for track and field.  I have had  a student in our school system for 19 years! My oldest started kindergarten in the year 2000! You can be sure that we have seen a lot of fundraisers come and go during that time.

I knew what he was referring to when he told me he would be participating in the blitz. First off, it is his third year running Varsity Track and Field for our school district. This means it is his third fundraising blitz.  The first year, he couldn’t drive yet, so he went with a fairly new friend on the blitz. We knew the family of this student, so we thought it was fine he hit the community for the blitz with a friend.  The blitz that year was cold with rain snow mix. His friend’s cards got lost somewhere along the route, so they had to go back out to look for them. I still do not have an explanation why they were found in the middle of the road!  The blitz for track and field entails going out en mass, as a team, but in small groups, to ask people to buy a discount card for one of our local grocery store chains. It is good deal of 5% off $75.00.  So good, in fact, that the second year the team sold these cards, or during the second “blitz,” I actually counted the number of weeks left in the year, so I would receive the discount every week I grocery shopped.  This is the third year of the blitz. It is sunny and mild outside, and I think my son – who only has half of his cards left to sell was actually looking forward to it because he cleaned out his vehicle.

This all got me thinking about what the word blitz means. I know what it means, but still, I wanted to see what the dictionary said. Merriam-webster online dictionary equates the word to an air raid, which makes sense due to the origin of the word being traced back to 1939.   It is short for blitzkrieg, which means an intense attack by air, or coordinated mechanized forces.  The dictionary states that a blitz is 1) an intensive aerial military campaign, or 2) a fast intensive nonmilitary campaign or attack, or 3) an occurrence in which large numbers of fish gather to chase and feed on prey or bait. Well, I have to admit to never knowing about that third definition! Anyway, the word fits what the track and field team is doing today – canvassing our neighborhoods in an intense campaign to fundraise (sell the discount cards for their team).  Last year was a great success! I am hoping this year will be as well!

When I went to Merriam-Webster to check their definition of blitz, the landing page had a short video about onomatopoeia –  or words that sound like the thing they represent. Some common onomatopoeia are toot or pop. So, I ask…how about blitz? Does it sound like a crazy intense fast activity? Maybe, it does!  I’d love to know what you think!

What are your favorite onomatopoeia? Does blitz fit the definition of onomatopoeia?


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