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LUCUBRATE

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LUCUBRATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:28 pm

• lucubrate •

Pronunciation: lu-kyu-brayt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: 1. To work late at night or into the night using artificial light. 2. To write a scholarly discourse or other work in a detailed, scholarly way; to write long and laboriously.

Notes: Again we have a fascinating word under threat of extinction. As we are more and more often forced to take work home with us at night or push the time we spend on our own activities later into the night, the opportunities for using this Good Word are actually increasing. So, we should not completely lose sight of it. This word comes with a full complement of derivations: lucubration is the noun, lucubratory is the adjective and a lucubrator is someone who loves working into the wee hours.

In Play: Today's Good Word originally was related to working by some form of artificial light (see Word History), and it is this sense that appeals to Dr. Goodword the most: "Gee, fellows, I would love to go to the movies but I'm afraid I have to lucubrate over a term paper due tomorrow." However, since scholars (apparently) were the only ones who worked diligently into the night at one time, the word is now used in the US to refer to writing in a detailed, scholarly fashion: "I hate to just ignore his memo after he has obviously lucubrated on it for days."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on lucubratus, the past participle of Latin lucubrare "to work at night by lamplight". The root comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *leuk- "light, shine" which somehow turned into English light. Now, this English word is a distant cousin of Russian luch "ray" (from Old Slavic leuk-ti), Latin lux (luk-s), and the Christian name of our Brazilian editor, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira. Another word leuk- turned into is Greek leukos "white, clear", which we can see in our medical term for the white blood cell, leukocyte, and the disease thereof, leukemia. With the suffix -n, the same root went on to become Latin luna "moon", the root of our words lunar and lunatic, someone once thought to bay at the moon. (Today's Good Word came to us from Brian Gockley, the owner of the mellifluous voice that brought to light Dr. Goodword's podcasts.)
Last edited by Dr. Goodword on Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Slava » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:03 am

Once upon a midnight dreary,
While I lucubrated weak and weary.

Hmm, great word, but it doesn't always fit, does it?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:21 am

It was a dark and stormy, lucubrating night....
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:50 pm

Now I know a six-bit word for "burning the midnight oil." Be sure I won't waste it. I will use it at every opportunity.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Postby wurdpurrson » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:24 am

I've always been self-described as a night owl. (*) Now I've come home to my real persona, a lucubrator. Love it! It sounds ever-so-much more impressive.
(*) Yes, there are some day owls. But the norm seems to be the nocturnal ones who scare people and eat little creatures on a dark night.

I wonder: if owls hunt on a bright, moonlit night, could that make them a kind of lucubrating creature, even though moonlight is a natural phenomenon? Nah. Probably too much of a stretch.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:09 am

People tell me they love the morning. I joke back that if
I have seen one sunrise, I've seen them all. I too am a
confirmed night-owl, or, as we now call ourselves,
"lucubrators". Onward!
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:55 pm

God too is a night owl. That's how he created the world. Aft each act, Genesis 1 declares, " the EVENING and the morning, the first day," etc.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:18 pm

I never thought of it that way, good point.
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Postby Slava » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:29 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:I never thought of it that way, good point.
I guess that's a good example of something dawning upon you, eh?
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:38 pm

One of the few I've witnessed in decades.
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Postby wurdpurrson » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:39 am

Mornings can be lovely - if one waits up for them. I'm never cognizant enough to enjoy them if I MUST get up for them very early. In jobs where I was expected to be at my post by 8:00 a.m., I became accomplished at faking alertness and functioning by rote until such time as I began to really wake up. That was rarely before 10 or 10:30 a.m. It usually worked.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:34 pm

Me too....and at least a dozen cups of coffee to
appreciate the sunrise. Sunsets: I'll take them any
day.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:50 pm

Appropriate application for Easter Eve. I think they should ban sunrise services and replace them with observance of the walk to Emmaus about 4:00 p.m.
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Postby wurdpurrson » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:14 am

Or maybe 5:00? Or maybe at sunset - sunset IS a nice time of day.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:19 am

I second both your proposals. Right On! ! ! !
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