I first heard this word in a book describing Bobby Kennedy having no idea what it meant. Then I heard it again on a West Wing episode when Sam tells Mandy she has it, and she also didn’t know its meaning.

Used as a noun, it means spirited and determined…courageous and brave.

Saying those things to her took a lot of pluck: having nerve and backbone; to be daring,  intrepid, fearless. To have mettle, grit, fortitude and resolve…stout-heartedness, dauntlessness, valor, heroism, audacity, moxie, gumption and spunk.

It’s become one of my favorite words and to think it rhymes with another favorite.

Ho hum.

Animals have a lot of pluck, it’s built-in by nature who must have realized, they need it simply to survive. Have you ever seen a frightened dog or cat? They plunge ahead even if they’re trembling.

Soldiers have it. How else could they do what they do? Pluck is a slow-drip of courage coursing through one’s veins allowing us to wade across the river in one piece.

The elderly have it entering the last phase of life when it’s no longer easy.

The sick struggling to put one foot in front of the other hoping they just make it through the day.

images-2 Teddy Roosevelt, my all-time favorite president had a lot of pluck, since he seemed to fear nothing, and Barack Obama, images-1 even if he’s not your cup of tea, definitely has it fearlessly facing the world with its cast of enemies.

The Islamic girl I saw on the train who weathered being made fun of wore hers like a shield.  She stood her ground without running away from a very scary situation. I asked myself, would you still be on this car if this was happening to you? Probably not, having those animal instincts knowing when it was smart to get outta Dodge.

Yet, deep down I know I possess plenty every time I stand up for myself. You do require it when confronting any opposition, which brings me back to Bobby Kennedy.   sen-robert-kennedy-giving-speech-during-campaign-stop He had a ton of enemies: The Teamsters, J. Edgar Hoover, the mob all becoming suspect after he was killed. Does that mean it’s a risky trait to own and brandish?

It proves having pluck can be downright dangerous, but without it who are we then…


Is that really a choice?

I’m voting no.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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18 Responses to Pluck

  1. micklively says:

    I like what you say but, as ever, I have a caveat. “Pluck” sits cheek by jowl with “gung-ho” and “oblivious”. Be brave with your own wellbeing. Other folk get hurt by oblivious.
    “Savoir faire” is a good side-salad for “pluck” but it doesn’t rhyme with anything worth saying.


    • “Savoir faire” love that term. Like I said, having pluck could be dangerous but who wants to be yellow-bellied Mick? Isn’t that a worse trait to have? You seem like a brave sort. As far as well-being goes, you’re right there, we must protect ourselves while being plucky 🙂


  2. What a great word and a great attribute to have. I think of you as an exceptionally plucky person, by the way. 🙂
    I’m curious what the Islamic girl was being made fun of. Just the normal racist crap? That’s the sort of situation where I would hope I would have the pluck to stand up for her, but it’s hard to know until you’re there. She was probably used to it, unfortunately.


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    I’ve heard that word since I was a kid, and never stopped to think about it. It is a good word, Susannah. And I would definitely say you have it.
    And I love the phrase ‘savoir faire’. To me it is a combination of sophistication and polish.


  4. katecrimmins says:

    Pluck for survival is one thing. Pluck to stand up for what you think it right even if you aren’t directly involved is another level of pluck. You are the pluckiest girl I know!


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    Yes, I do believe you have pluck. You’re post usually make me laugh! LOL! Haven’t heard that word in a looooong time!


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