Why is it called "agony aunt"?

Why is it called "agony aunt"?

An advice columnist wrote the replies (colloquially known in British English as an "agony aunt," or "agony uncle" if the columnist is male). Originally, the picture conveyed was of an older lady offering consoling guidance and maternal wisdom, hence the term "aunt." Today, the agony in this phrase has nothing to do with pain but instead refers to the opportunity given to readers to ask questions about living situations, career choices, or any other topic that may come up in a daily column.

The concept of having a "personal adviser" who gives honest, impartial advice to help people make important decisions in their lives dates back at least as far as the 5th century BC. It is said that Socrates had a famous "wise man" or "friend" named Plato, who used writing materials such as papyrus to compose speeches which were then read out loud by disciples of Socrates. This idea of an expert providing counsel to others for a fee is very modern, however, being introduced around 1730 by a French writer named Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The term "advisor" came into general use during the American Civil War when many prominent people wrote letters to the editor of The New York Times asking for help with personal problems. These letters were written by others who identified themselves only by initials and so could not be identified by enemy forces looking to punish those who contacted the newspaper.

What does "agony aunt" stand for?

An agony aunt is a person who writes a column for a newspaper or magazine in which they respond to readers who write to them seeking help on personal issues. [British] regional note: employ advice columnist in the morning. London can be an awfully small place.

The term was first used by George Bernard Shaw to describe Miss Annie Wood, who wrote a weekly column for the Sunday Express from 1903 to 1960. She answered letters from readers who often wrote about their problems with her columns "Some one knows me better than I know myself." and "You have put my mind at rest about my husband. I will never worry him again."

Shaw borrowed the term from the English language dictionary of Edward Phillips (1702-1771), which defines it as "a friend who gives advice willingly and readily; a confidant."

It's interesting to note that Shaw also invented the words "psychology" and "psychoanalysis", so he was certainly aware of the importance of understanding minds inside and out.

He used the term agony aunt to describe Miss Wood because she offered sincere and objective advice that would help her readers find solutions to their problems. She did not provide psychological counseling or advice about relationships, but rather discussed topics such as marriage, family, career, and health.

What is an agony aunt letter?

Agony aunts are a countable noun in the plural. The term originated in England in the early 20th century but now has global popularity.

People call their favorite newspaper's advice columnists "agony aunts" or "auntie." The term does not imply that they are related by blood, but rather that they offers comfort and advice to those struggling with life's difficulties. Some authors claim that the term arose because these journalists give accurate answers to their questions, while others say they provide merely optimistic views of difficult situations.

The first agony aunt column was written by Mary Newdigate of the British weekly newspaper the Sunday Pictorial. She began answering letters from readers on April 5, 1920. Before that time, she had been writing about current affairs, so her employers thought it would be interesting to have a column where women could ask questions about marriage and home life. They did not know that this would become one of the most popular features of the paper.

Newdigate's success inspired other newspapers to start their own advice columns, so that by the end of the 1920s, many major cities in Britain had at least one agony aunt.

Why is Aunt Sally a target of abuse?

What exactly does it signify, and where did it come from? An "Aunt Sally" is a person or object who has been put up as an easy target for criticism, insult, or blame in political circles, frequently to divert attention away from the genuine issues and waste opponents' time. The term was originally used in American politics to describe Susan B. Anthony, a feminist who fought for women's rights before the Civil War. She was known for her fiery orations that would go on for hours, so someone invented this clever nickname for her to make them sound more important.

The phrase was coined by Horace Greeley in an 1872 editorial called "The Political Status of Women." He argued that the major parties were making promises they had no intention of keeping because they knew that female voters would only vote for one candidate in each race. To get around this problem, they created stereotypes about what kind of people would be likely to support women's rights. One of these stereotypes was that women needed protecting from masculine violence, so politicians began appointing "aunt sallies" to positions requiring forcefulness and aggression. For example, one senator appointed a woman because he wanted him to be seen as taking care of business at the Capitol while he worked on other matters elsewhere in Washington.

Greeley's argument made sense, but many politicians at the time were not interested in giving women any real power.

About Article Author

Veronica Brown

Veronica Brown is a freelance writer and editor with over five years of experience in publishing. She has an eye for detail and a love for words. She currently works as an editor on the Creative Writing team at an independent publisher in Chicago, Illinois.

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