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Feb 8, 2019
This week’s theme
Words made with combining forms

This week’s words
mycology
ailurophile
orogeny
epigeal
nidifugous

nidifugous
Nidifugous Nestlings
Britain’s Birds and Their Nests (1910) Illustration: George Rankin

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Next week’s theme
Words that aren’t what they appear to be
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

nidifugous

PRONUNCIATION:
(ny-DIF-yuh-guhs)

MEANING:
adjective: Well-developed and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin nidi- (nest) + -fugous (fleeing). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sed- (to sit), which is also the source of nest, sit, chair, saddle, assess, sediment, soot, cathedral, and tetrahedron. Earliest documented use: 1902.

NOTES:
The opposite of nidifugous is nidicolous (remaining with parents for a long time after birth). Etymologically speaking, these words apply to birds, but there’s no reason you can’t use them elsewhere. For example, if your adult child suggests living in your basement, you could simply say, “Don’t be nidicolous!”

USAGE:
“The young of all species are -- as you well know -- nidifugous, and ours will be no exception. And as they go, they will take some of their spirit with them, leaving us, the founders as mere husks.”
Malcolm Macdonald; Strange Music; Severn House; 2012.

See more usage examples of nidifugous in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (8 Feb 1819-1900)

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