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Sep 5, 2022
This week’s theme
Flowers

This week’s words
roseate
daisy-chain
orchidacity
tall poppy
wallflower

roseate
Roseate Spoonbill
Photo: Jgocfoto / Wikimedia

Previous week’s theme
Metaphors & idioms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

At one time any self-respecting Jane Austenite would be expected to know the language of flowers by heart.

Whole dictionaries were published about what flower symbolized what. They call it floriography: coded communication through the use of flowers. If you knew your floriography, you could probably skip over half of any Victorian romance novel.

In those days a “well-bred”* person was expected to know that a red rose meant love and a yellow rose friendship. A lily was a symbol of purity and innocence while mimosa, aka touch-me-not,** was of chastity. Well, F all that prudish obsession with chastity!

To me, each flower comes with the message that there’s hope for humanity. This week we’ll see five flower-related terms that are used figuratively.

Do you feel partial to some particular flower? Have a story related to flowers? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

*Not sure what today’s well-bred person is supposed to know. The language of emojis?
**Mimosa pudica, to be more precise

roseate

PRONUNCIATION:
(ROH-zee-uht/ayt)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Like a rose, especially in color: pink, red, etc.
2. Bright; favorable; promising.
3. Unreasonably optimistic.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin roseus (rosy), from rosa (rose), from Greek rhodon (rose). Earliest documented use: 1449. Also see rose-colored.

USAGE:
“This roseate future isn’t pending, which causes one to despair.”
Randy Boyagoda, Magic and Greed: Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s New Novel; Harper’s Magazine (New York); Sep 2006.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterward. -Arthur Koestler, novelist and journalist (5 Sep 1905-1983)

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