Monday, April 01, 2013

Word of the Day -- Lugubrious

Lugubrious means mournful, dismal.  Sad to the nth degree...

"It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery," wrote Publilius Syrus in the first century BC. Perhaps this explains why "lugubrious" is so woeful—it's all alone. Sure, we can dress up "lugubrious" with suffixes to form "lugubriously" or "lugubriousness," but the word remains essentially an only child—the sole surviving English offspring of its Latin ancestors. This wasn't always the case, though. "Lugubrious" once had a linguistic living relative in "luctual," an adjective meaning "sad" or "sorrowful." Like "lugubrious," "luctual" traced ultimately to the Latin verb "lugēre," meaning "to mourn." "Luctual," however, faded into obsolescence long ago, leaving "lugubrious" to carry on the family's mournful mission all alone.

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