The Opposite of Fade

Questions and Answers

Cheryl—a loyal reader and fellow verbivore—sent in another great question yesterday:
I have a question that has been puzzling me for some time. What is the opposite of the word “fade”; as in “light fades at dusk”? What does light do in the morning?
Well, after checking out a couple of thesauruses, I’ve found that morning light can grow brighter or intensify. It can also strengthen or increase. But all of these words sound pretty clinical, don’t they?

I suppose that’s why Kipling wrote instead that “dawn comes up like thunder” and Coleridge imagined dawn’s “golden exhalations.” Wordsworth’s dawn was “cheerful” and Homer’s, “rosy-fingered.”

On an unrelated note, I think fade is a pretty interesting word since when light is fading, things becomes darker, but when colour fades from something, it becomes lighter.

Fade can also mean to wither, if you’re a flower; to become quieter, if you’re sound; to grow smaller and weaken, if you’re mortal; and to vanish, if you’re the invisible man.

If you fade in a game of cards, you’re accepting a bet. And if your brake shoes fade, you’re in trouble.

Now, if you happen to be from Cornwall and little old-fashioned, then fade can also mean “to dance from town to country.” And if you want to be especially old-fashioned you should know that another, obsolete meaning of fade is “to suit or arrange,” though this fell out of favour in the late 15th century.

Thanks for the question, Cheryl.

One Reply to “The Opposite of Fade”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.