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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:39 pm

• blandiloquent •

Pronunciation: blæn-dil-ê-kwent • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Smooth-talking, honey-tongued, flattering.

Notes: Today's word is another tottering on the brink of extinction; most dictionaries have already given it up. The Oxford English Dictionary has retained the noun, blandiloquence, and an adjectival cousin, blandiloquous. We need to retain this word, however, if for no other reason than it sounds better than smooth-talking or blandiloquous.

In Play: When today's word was last used, it, too, had acquired the pejorative sense of "smooth-talking": "Some blandiloquent used-car salesman convinced Millicent to buy a 1986 Chevy with 150,000 miles on it." However, since we must revive it, we might just as well revive it as a neutral term, "Bridget is so attracted to blandiloquent men that she only goes out with subscribers to alphaDictionary's Good Word series."

Word History: Today's is another case of lexical larceny by Mother English, this time of Latin blandiloquentia "smooth-talking". This word is a compound composed of blandus "soft" + loquor "to talk," whose verbal noun is loquentia "talking, talk". Oddly enough, the Proto-Indo-European root underlying bland- is mol- "soft" (compare Italian molle and Portuguese mole "soft") in the usual three ablaut flavors, including mel- and ml-. The word-initial combination [ml] sometimes became [bl] in Latin, hence Latin blandus with a suffix -ndus. In Greek we find malakos "soft," in Serbian, mlad "young," and in Russian, molodoy "young" with the same root. English inherited this root through the Germanic languages as melt and mild.
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Postby MTC » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:27 am

Blandiloquent slides off the tongue with oleaginous charm. However, the completely Latin etymology came as a surprise. I had always thought without looking (It's easier that way) bland was a word of Old English origin, but no, it turns out bland is Latin as a Roman coin.

Here's a related entry from The Apocrypha of MTC:
somniloquence: eloquence while speaking in ones sleep.
usage: After she had been repeatedly ousted from a sound sleep, Throckmorton's wife was in no mood to appreciate his somniloquence.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:03 pm

I think of the word "bland" as killing it.
I think of warm milk, not warmed as an evening libation,
but a glass poured at 7 am and still there at 7 PM.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby misterdoe » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:32 pm

Bland threw me off too. Just seeing the word, without a definition, I would have thought it referred to those people who have nothing particularly interesting to say but say it anyway and at great length...
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Postby Slava » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:05 pm

Try to remember to think of blandishments when confronted with this word. Perhaps that will help.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:28 pm

Blandiloquence may tend to blandness. William Congreve could have said, "Blandiloquence hath charms to soothe a savage breast..."
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