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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:11 am

• lissome •

Pronunciation: lis-êm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Supple, slender, gracefully limber and agile.

Notes: As today's Word History will show, lissome, lithesome, and lithe all share the identical meaning and are variations of one and the same word. Those slender enough can walk about lissomely as a result of their lissomeness.

In Play: Lissome implies movement facilitated by slenderness and flexibility: "Grace had grown into a charming, lissome teen-ager who leapt across the stage in her tutu effortlessly." This word refers to slender things but it implies motion: "Ages ago, when I was winsome and lissome, I could dance the limbo under a rod less than 2 feet from the floor."

Word History: Today's Good Word reflects remarkable indecision in the minds of English speakers over a particularly long period of time. The original word was lithe [laidh] which was first extended for no apparent reason to [i]lithesome [laidh-sêm] and then reduced to lissome[/i]—all without the slightest shift in meaning. The original stem shows up in some languages related to English with an N, as we see in German lind "soft, dulcet" and Latin lentus "soft, pliant, tough". (We owe a debt of gratitude to the lissome mind of Dr. Lyn Laboriel for suggesting today's delightful lexical tidbit.)
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Postby Perry » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:38 am

I try to apply my Taekwondo training to attaining lissomness. I am making progress in the limber and agility aspects of this, but am still far from svelte.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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Postby Stargzer » Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:43 am

Perry wrote: . . . I am making progress in the limber . . .

Every limber boy and girl
All around the limber world
Gonna do the Limber Rock
All around the limber clock.
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,
Jack go under limber stick.
All around the limber clock
Hey, let's do the Limber Rock!

Limber lower now!

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