Word Spy Blog

Sweet as Honey, Bright as the Full Moon

Today’s Word Spy post is uni-moon, a vacation that, because of scheduling conflicts and general too-busyness, each person in a newly married couple takes alone instead of going on a honeymoon together. It’s tempting to use the inherent absurdity of such a concept as a launching pad for a rant against modern lifestyles that are too hopped-up on hectivity and too wired by work-life overload to organize even a short vacation as a couple. You can find any number of such rants in other corners of the internets. Just ask Google. Instead, let’s take a quick look at the history of the word honeymoon. Won’t that be nicer?

Some folks would have you believe that the word honeymoon refers to some ancient custom that required the bride and groom to spend the first month (or, really, a full lunar cycle, or “moon”) drinking mead, an alcoholic drink made with honey. The very idea that your average newly minted man and wife could spend 27 days drunk as skunks should be enough to put the lie to this old chestnut.

Unfortunately, however, the real story is quite a bit more cynical. The deal is that at the beginning of a marriage, the bride and groom’s love for each other is as sweet as honey and burns as bright as the full moon. However, just as both our taste for honey and the full moon’s brightness eventually wane, so too will the couple’s love for each other.

Hmm, maybe that wasn’t nicer after all. Now about that rant…