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MELLIFLUOUS

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MELLIFLUOUS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:17 pm

• mellifluous •

Pronunciation: mê-li-flu-wês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Of speech: pleasant-sounding, beautiful, highly articulate, poetic. 2. Sweet as honey or sweetened with honey.

Notes: This word amply demonstrates how we often confuse the senses. As the Word History shows, it originally referred to honey flowing over the tongue but this word now refers more often to the sweetness of speech than to that of taste, in other words, speech as beautiful as honey is sweet. Its synonymous cousin, mellifluent, has an equally beautiful noun, mellifluence.

In Play: Today's Good Word is itself one of the most mellifluous words in English; it is almost onomatopoetic. The image of today's word is a smooth flow of speech approaching poetry if not reaching it: "The poet inundated his audience in mellifluous waves of words." This term describes the ultimate goal of the translator: "The interpreter translated each sentence into mellifluous, idiomatic English that flowed drippingly from her tongue."

Word History: This word is the English makeover of Latin mellifluus "dripping with honey", based on mel "honey" + fluere "to flow". Latin mel and Greek meli "honey" come from the same root as French and Spanish miel "honey" and English mead "fermented honey". Flu- is a cognate of English flow and flu. The name of the disease, flu, is a clipping of Italian influenza "influence", from the days when diseases were believed to be the evil influence of celestial bodies. (Thank you Katy Brezger for this mellifluous contribution from the Alpha Agora.)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:23 pm

Funny that you should mention honey today. It kind of got on my nerves today at the table why my grandma and my aunt were referring to honey as mel de abelha (honey's bee). To me there's only honey from bees, so saying mel de abelha is weird and redundant. Or can you get honey from something else?

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Postby Bailey » Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:35 am

Maybe they were thinking of a honey like a lover, in contrast.

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Postby tcward » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:56 am

Brazilian dude wrote:Funny that you should mention honey today. It kind of got on my nerves today at the table why my grandma and my aunt were referring to honey as mel de abelha (honey's bee). To me there's only honey from bees, so saying mel de abelha is weird and redundant. Or can you get honey from something else?


Not to be a stickler, but don't you mean bee's honey...?

Bees are not the only insects that produce honey. Some insects make honey that we can't eat. Other insects produce edible honey, but not in quantities that are feasible or profitable to collect. I was looking for a good online source to explain all this, but I didn't find one.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:38 am

Not to be a stickler, but don't you mean bee's honey...?

Of course I was. :oops:

Oh, I didn't know other insects produced honey. That should be enough for now, Tim. Thanks.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:39 am

On the other hand, if only bee's honey is edible, what's the need to specify it, since you aren't likely to eat other kinds?

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Postby Spiff » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:44 am

tcward wrote:
Bees are not the only insects that produce honey. Some insects make honey that we can't eat. Other insects produce edible honey, but not in quantities that are feasible or profitable to collect. I was looking for a good online source to explain all this, but I didn't find one.

-Tim


As usual, people turn to Tim as a good online source.
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Postby Bailey » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:33 pm

I read that aphids produce a sweetish sap like bee's honey.

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