• dynamism •
Pronunciation: dai-nê-miz-êm • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)
Meaning: 1. Continuous powerful change or activity: the dynamism of world politics. 2. Vigor, energetic enthusiasm: the dynamism of high school cheerleaders. 3. A philosophy that explains the universe in terms of force or energy: The philosophy of Henri Bergson contains elements of dynamism.
Notes: The derivational family of today's Good Word is too large to list here. Here are just a few. The adjective is dynamic, and it may be used as an noun, too, as the dynamics "forces of movement in any sphere". The adjective has borne its own family, which includes an absolute synonym, dynamical, and an adverb, dynamically. (You must include the -al when spelling the adverb.) Of course, Alfred Nobel derived the name of his new explosive, dynamite, from the same root word.
In Play: Anything that depends on vigor or enthusiastic energy may be described by today's word: "Carrie Oakley's singing style lacks any trace of dynamism, let alone pizzazz." This word is more commonly associated with people: "The dynamism of your oral report, Izzy, didn't disguise the fact that you copied the content from the article on the same subject in Wikipedia."
Word History: Today's Good Word was created from Greek dynamis "power, might, strength" + -ism. The root of Greek dynamis came from Proto-Indo-European dew- "to do, show favor". This root occurred often in the PIE language with a suffix -eno, the meaning of which was lost somewhere down the shaft of history. The null vowel version of this root, dwe-, would have become be- in Latin. So, the Latin word bene "well", and all the compounds made with that word, may have come from the same PIE word. The compounds English borrowed include beneficial, benevolent and benediction. (We must now thank Heather Fischbach, who was possessed of dynamism enough to suggest today's Good Word.)