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OPULENT

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OPULENT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:26 am

• opulent •

Pronunciation: ah-pyê-lênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Sumptuous, luxurious, exhibiting great wealth and richness, having plush, luxurious appointments. 2. Great in size or numbers, thick or dense with.

Notes: The fact that English has more words referring to wealthy lifestyles than to poverty reflects less the economic status of the English-speaking world as its aspirations: plush, luxurious, posh, sumptuous, and today's Good Word are used more often to refer to luxurious hair, plush upholstery, sumptuous greenery and opulent dogwoods than monetary richness. Today's word may be used adverbially with the appropriate suffix (opulently) and the noun is formed by replacing the final T with CE: opulence.

In Play: Opulence first and foremost describes luxurious surroundings: "Jason Rainbows lives in an opulent yacht docked where he can make a quick getaway should investigators discover how he paid for it." Figuratively, however, it refers to any sort of superabundance: "Tiffany Lampe was known more for her opulent bosom than her opulent candlelight dinners."

Word History: Today's Good Word made its way to us from Latin opulentus "rich, wealthy". This word is based on the noun opus "work", which we use in English as a stand-alone word and also as a root in words like opera and operate. The adjective comes from a suffixed form op-en-ent-, which became opulent- by way of 'dissimilation', one of the linguistic means of avoiding sound repetition in a word. Latin didn't like the en-en syllable combination in openentus and replaced the first N with L.
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Opus

Postby dougsmit » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:15 am

How is it we base opulentus (opulens) on opus=work rather than ops=wealth (there even was a goddess of wealth Ops). Where did Latin get these words?
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Opulent: from opus or ops?

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:07 am

You are probably right but we can't find anything on Latin ops. It is related to opus according to Klein, who would derived opulent from it but we can't find it in any of the Perseus dictionaries.

There is a secondary listing of opis "genitive of ops 'aid, succor, . . . ." Do any of you have more information on this word?
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Ops

Postby dougsmit » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:21 pm

My weightiest Latin/English Lexicon (Andrews, 1861) says the common noun ops does not exist in the nominative singular but is found in the plural (opes) with the meanings (1) power and (2) riches. It suggests a primitive association with copia as well as opus but does not explain the connections. The proper noun is listed as a separate entry (with a singular) meaning the goddess of wealth. I became aware of the word through its use as a coin type in the second century AD. Copia is listed as co-ops and is the usual way of expressing wealth.

http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/sear5/s6045.t.html Coins of Pertinax with dative OPI

http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/sear5/s4197.t.html Coins of Antoninus Pius also OPI

Wikipedia says the word is related to Sanskrit apnas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ops
but that is way over my head.
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