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November 23, 2018 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"legacy"
Definition--something handed on or left unfinished by those who came before, or money or property bequeathed by will.
Discussion--What is your legacy? What will you leave for those who come after you? These are questions most of us ponder at some point in life. Whether we choose to define it as the money we accumulate or the deeds we do or the people we influence, it is rather tied with how we view the meaning of life.

When defining projects, business people often talk of a triangle--time, cost, and quality. As the saying goes, pick any two. You can have it fast and cheap, but the quality will suffer; you can have it fast and high quality, but it will be very expensive; you can have it cheap and high quality, but it will take a long time; etc.

In life, there is a similar triangle--astound, serve, and provoke. Is your goal in life to perform great deeds and astound like Albert Einstein, serve others like Mother Teresa, or to be provocative like Groucho Marx or Howard Stern? Undoubtedly, we all desire some element of each in different proportions, and most favor one over the others. That makeup defines the nature of our legacy and what we strive to accomplish in our lives.

From the trite to the technological, legacy is used in information technology to describe applications, languages, platforms, and techniques inherited from earlier technology. It is frequently a challenge to keep these legacy applications running while converting to newer, more efficient ones. Furthermore, doing so is often imperative when the older proprietary applications and devices are no longer compatible with current ones.

Hooray, hooray for Y2K! The legacy of earlier times when memory was expensive and programmers either lacked the foresight to believe their code would last that long or lacked the skill to create a more robust application.

Etymology--The term legacy comes from the Latin legare, meaning to appoint by a last will, bequeath, or send as a legate.

French and Spanish below show similar roots. Dutch and Italian are derived more from heritage, a term with similar meaning.

   Foreign Translations
German:  Vermachtnis (nt)
Dutch:  erfenis (de)
French:  legs (m), héritage (m)
Italian:  eredità
Spanish:  legado

Jane Ellis      Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook

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