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OMNIFARIOUS

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OMNIFARIOUS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:12 pm

• omnifarious •

Pronunciation: ahm-ni-fe-ri-ês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective.

Meaning: Of all kinds, of all sorts, in all ways or fashions.

Notes: Since this word's meaning is so similar to that of multifarious, today's Good Word has drifted out of common service. The meanings of these two adjectives, however, are subtly different, so the careful speaker and writer will always distinguish them. Multifarious means "of many kinds" while omnifarious means "of all kinds" (all inclusive). Today's word may be used as an adverb (omnifariously) or a noun (omnifariousness) with the appropriate suffixes.

In Play: If the coverage is broad but not all-inclusive, it is better to use multifarious: "The multifarious styles of clothing at the reception reflected the host's cosmopolitan tastes in friends and acquaintances." However, if every kind of variation is really what you mean, you need today's Good Word: "The omnifarious views of the participants made the conference a great success."

Word History: This word comes directly from Latin omnifarius "of all sorts" made up of the root of omnis "all, every" + far-, a variat of ferri "to carry, bear" + ius, an adjective suffix. We had discussed the relation of Latin ferre to English do before, so let's take a look as omnis and its root omn- today. It seems to have derived from the Proto-Indo-European root op- "work", found in such borrowed English words as operate and opera. However, the same root turns up in many words meaning "very many" or "very much", e.g. opulent and optimum. Now, if the [p] were to end up before an [n], we would expect the [p] to become nasalized like the [n], making it [m]. That is apparently what happened in the case of omnis. (We are grateful to Susan Hays and her omnifarious English vocabulary for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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Postby Bailey » Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:18 am

it appears sol bad

mark

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:23 am

Yeah, I was going to say the same. It sounds more like terrifying, spooky to me. And I'm a Romance speaker *and have known this word for ages!

* Come over baby, give me some sugar, hahaha.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:25 am

Oh, I know why! I think of nefarious.

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Postby gailr » Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:46 pm

I immediately thought of nefarious as well.

After seeing today's Good Word, I at first wondered if nefarious was derived from the same family group. It now looks like a coincidence that the words look related and are not.

Dr. Goodword: do you have anything to add here?

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:23 pm

I should think they are related. Latin facere (to do) underlies both words. Nefas is something that shouldn't be done, hence a violation.

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Postby gailr » Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:48 am

Yes, but...

the etymologies I've looked at show variations of:
omni + farius of all varieties, forms, or kinds
multi + farius in many places

however:
ne- not + fas right, divine law; (perhaps akin to Greek themis law, tithenai to place)

I was expecting to see something like:
ne + farius (no varieties/no places; thus leading to the contemporary definition)

I was surprised to see "nefarious" broken differently; hence the question.

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