Hinterland Who’s Who

The local media described a community like mine as a “hinterland” today. I don’t get it. This is what Google has to say:

noun: hinterland; plural noun: hinterlands
  1. 1.
    the remote areas of a country away from the coast or the banks of major rivers.
    the hinterland of southern Italy
    synonyms: the back of beyond, the middle of nowhere, the backwoods, the wilds, the bush, remote areas, a backwater;

    the outback, the back country, the backblocks, the booay;
    the backveld, the platteland;
    informalthe sticks;
    informalthe boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers;
    informalWoop Woop, beyond the black stump
    early settlers were driven from the coastal areas into the hinterland
    antonyms: civilization
    • the area around or beyond a major town or port.
      a market town serving its rich agricultural hinterland
  2. 2.
    an area lying beyond what is visible or known.
    the strange hinterland where life begins and ends
late 19th cent.: from German, from hinter ‘behind’ + Land ‘land’.

I reject meaning #1, because it’ silly to think that a community on the edge of a major city is the “back of beyond”, although it is catchy. I also reject the idea of tall timbers, which don’t exist in my ‘hood, therefore the lack of tree-climbing squirrels, and the apparent abundance of backward-walking ground squirrels. I do concede to being stumped.

I accept meaning #2 as much more intriguing: “an area lying beyond what is visible or known; the strange hinterland where life begins and ends’.

That’s it in a nutshell. Now I don’t have to drop all my Grimm references and start calling my blog “Hinterland Who’s Who”. It’s the same place, metaphorically. A reasonable compromise would be to introduce some of the critters from HWW from time to time. Consider it done.

I also realized today how much I like the schwa: ə. How’s it goin’, ə?


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