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Oct 29, 2018
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
eucatastrophe
ochlophobia
peristeronic
amatorculist
abnegation

eucatastrophe
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

If you have ever wondered why there’s not a single word for the concept of a happy ending, the opposite of catastrophe, well, your wish is granted. In fact, you may not know that your wish was granted about 75 years ago.

You can thank J.R.R. Tolkien for it.

But you don’t have to be the author of a trilogy to add to a language. Language is a do-it-yourself thing. If you speak it, it’s yours. So go ahead, fix it. Fill in any gaps, any potholes, you find. Coin a word; share it with a friend; share it with the world.

This week we’ll share five words that might make you say: I didn’t know there was a word for it!

eucatastrophe

PRONUNCIATION:
(yoo-kuh-TAS-truh-fee)

MEANING:
noun: A happy ending, especially one in which, instead of an impending disaster, a sudden turn leads to a favorable resolution of the story.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by J.R.R. Tolkien in a letter in 1944, from Greek eu- (good) + catastrophe, from kata- (down) + strophe (turning). Earliest documented use 1944.

USAGE:
“The contrived eucatastrophe of Dennis’s play seemingly resonated with and satisfied the audiences.”
Alison Forsyth; Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre, 1660-1914; Theatre Journal (Baltimore, Maryland); Oct 2007.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Certainly none of the advances made in civilization has been due to counterrevolutionaries and advocates of the status quo. -Bill Mauldin, editorial cartoonist (29 Oct 1921-2003)

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