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PRODIGIOUS

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PRODIGIOUS

Postby Slava » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:42 pm

GWotD for June 4, 2012:

Dr. Goodword wrote:• prodigious •

Pronunciation: prê-di-jês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Huge, enormous. 2. Extraordinary, excellent, outstanding.

Notes: The sound and spelling of today's Good Word are obviously related to prodigy, but beware: the meaning doesn't! Although prodigy refers to someone with a prodigious talent, in the 18th century, the adverb of this word, prodigiously, assumed the guise of an intensifier with a meaning no more than that of very. The result has been the meanings we see above today.

In Play: The sense of "huge, enormous" is usually used in the abstract with this word: "Matilda is a wonderful conversationalist but beware: she can manufacture a prodigious amount of poppycock in conversations." This word can also substitute for "excellent" or "outstanding": "Laurencio did a prodigious job in organizing the Finnegan Falls Fog Festival this year, right down to the pea-soup fog! I don't know how he arranged that."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin prodigiosus "unnatural, strange. wonderful" from prodigium "an omen, sign, portent". Prodigium is also the source of prodigy. It is probably the remains of a derivation based on ancient Proto-Indo-European pro "before, ahead" + ag- " say, speak" + ium, neuter noun suffix—with an unexplained D in between. If so, today's word is related to English adage, which comes, via French, from Latin adagium "adage", based on ad "(up)to" + ag- "say".
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Slava
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Postby Slava » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:49 pm

I don't usually reply to my own posts, but as this one's not really mine, and my comment, I do hope, will be approved by the masses, here goes:

The alphaDictionary of Dr. Goodword is truly a prodigious piece of work, in both the given meanings. Every day another word, with humor thrown in at times, to boot.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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