• redux •
Pronunciation: ree-dêks • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. (Placed after the noun) Restored, reinstated, returned to its original state or position, revisited, as in an evening of speakeasies and flappers redux. 2. (Medicine) Indicating restoration to healthy functioning, as redux circulation in tissue previously lacking it.
Notes: Today's word is probably most popular in the titles of works of literature such as Dryden's poem Astraea Redux, Trollope's novel Phineas Redux, and John Updike's novel, Rabbit Redux. Notice that, although an adjective, it is generally placed behind the noun it modifies. When used medically, it is usually placed before the noun.
In Play: Redux is not simply revisiting but reinstating something to its authentic original state: "The appointments and furnishings in Andy Bellam's home were pure 19th century America redux." Even when used metaphorically, this word carries with it a sense of déjà vu: "The war in Iraq strikes some as Vietnam redux, jungle replaced by desert."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from the Latin verb reducere "bring back, restore" based on re- "back" + ducere "to lead". Obviously, this verb is also the source of English reduce—doesn't reducing restore us to our original state? The Latin root duc- turns up in many other words borrowed by English from Latin, including the name of a leader, duke, educate, to lead out into the world, and subdue, to be placed under leadership or control. The same root produced in English, without the help of Latin, tug as well as tight, akin to tie, a different kind of control. (Today we thank Karen Ford for restoring this Good Word to our thoughts.)
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