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Jan 14, 2019
This week’s theme
Adjectives

This week’s words
allicient
cernuous
xanthic
predaceous
hortative

allicient
“Find a pair of awesome.”

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The adjective is the new noun.

Last month when I was in India, one morning I noticed this billboard in Mumbai encouraging people to “Find a pair of awesome.” I stopped right there on the sidewalk and checked mine. You may not think it was a pair of awesome, but it did the job. Thank you very much!

They meant: a pair of awesome [socks].

I don’t know... maybe these days billboard companies are charging by the number of words and Jockey’s ad budget simply didn’t allow for an extra word and they had to press the adjective into double duty.

Purists might get their socks in a twist on seeing this new incarnation of the adjective, but they need a history lesson. The adjective is the new noun? Not really!

The adjective has been moonlighting for a long time, taking second and third jobs to make its ends meet. How long? About as long as English has been around. Take the word fat, for example. The Oxford English Dictionary shows its first citation from the year 893 as an adjective. Then, about 500 years later, it took a side job as a noun. Since then it has been happily balancing its dual careers in the English language.

This week we’ll present five adjectives and we’d like you to press them into a noun’s job. Post your examples below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. Also, feel free to share any other nouning of adjectives you have, whether homegrown or found in the wild.

allicient

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-LISH-uhnt)

MEANING:
adjective: Having the power to attract; appealing.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin allicere (to entice). Earliest documented use: 1613.

USAGE:
“And yet Fiben’s heart beat faster as he watched her allicient movements.”
David Brin; The Uplift War; Phantasia; 1987.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (14 Jan 1875-1965)

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