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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Converge first appears in the english language in 1691 and comes from the Latin word convergere. It is a compound word made up of the latin word for 'together' which is com and vergere 'to bend'. Today the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as 'to tend to meet in a point'. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as 'to come together and unite in a common interest or focus'. 

Generally when I think of the word converge I think think of a convergence of rivers. To large powerful bodies of water coming together to create an even larger river. A strong visual image of mountains and expanses of rainforest with winding rivers come to mind when I think about it. I hear converge and I think of strong natural forces that are largely uncontrollable. Converge gives a mass to a specific thing. To say two river meets is rather boring and low key. However, to say they converge gives them a power and presence. It makes two otherwise normal rivers an importance. I can just hear the voice of David Attenborough dubbed over panning shots of the nile saying 'And this is where the White Nile and Blue Nile converge to create the mighty NIle'. Now that sentence wouldn't sound nearly as good if he had just said they 'meet'

I also think of masses of people. Large crowds, protests and riots come together. I expect when reading about large groupings in news reports to see the word converge or a derivative of it. For instance a news paper article might read 'The large crowd of protesters converged on the city hall to protest tax hikes'. Just like writers of the Attenborough programs used converge to emphasis the meeting of two rivers, the reporter uses 'converged' to dramatize the protest. The protesters are now 

Converge has a strong association to the G20 protests in Toronto for me. I personally was not part of the protests nor did I go check them out but I did read about them. I remember one article from the Toronto Star describing the scene that unfolded at Queen and Spadina when the police surrounded a group of people. I can not recall the sentence perfectly but I do remember 'the police converged'. The use of converge made the police seem more scary and real. The police weren't simply surrounding the protesters, they were surrounding them with purpose. I could understand the fear that some might have felt being surrounded by a menacing group of police officers. 

1. Oxford English Dictionary. "Converge". 2012. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/40730?redirectedFrom=converge#eid. Accessed November 21 2012.

2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. "Converge". 2012. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/converge. Accessed November 21 2012. 

3. Online Etymology Dictionary. "Converge". 2012. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=converge&searchmode=none. Accessed November 21 2012. 

4. Wikipedia. "The Nile". Last modified November 21 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nile. Accessed November 21 2012. 

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