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SULTRY

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SULTRY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:57 pm

• sultry •

Pronunciation: sêl-tree • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Oppressively hot and humid, sweltering. 2. (of women) Sensual, sexually attractive, arousing desire in men.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes with the usual adverb and noun, sultrily and sultriness. It is paralleled by another adjective, sweltry, with the same basic meaning. In fact, sultry is a variant of this adjective. These two words got their wires crossed. We do not use the verb from which sultry is derived, sulter, any more; we now prefer swelter. But the adjective sweltry has given way to sultry.

In Play: We can ball up the senses of "very hot" and "humid" in this one very Good Word: "The rise of air-conditioning is a major factor in the industrialization of sultry regions, like the southern US states." When we get tired of sexy and hot, this word also works for either of these words, and lifts the level of conversation a bit, too: "Gladys Boise wore a sultry dress to the party, but it only attracted the likes of Phil Anders."

Word History: As mentioned in the Notes, today's word is a variant of sweltry, based on the verb swelter. This verb descended from Middle English swelten "to die (from burning), faint (from the heat)". So, how did we get from death to seduction? Well, the Proto-Indo-European word that today's word came from was swel- "burn slowly, shine". It divided into two words in Old English: swelan "to die" and sweltan "to die". Well, that is exactly what swelan did: it died out. But sweltan remained, though its meaning shifted "to almost die from heat, to faint" in the Middle English period. (We would like to take this opportunity to thank Perry Lassiter, and wish him no sultry weather this summer.)
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:15 pm

Thanks for the wish, but I fear that here in LA July and August will spike their usual 90 & 100 degree weather with what feels like 100 per cent humidity. To me, it's worth it for the mild winters. Cold is painful.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:27 pm

Yuppers! Humidity can really get to you, wear you down.
Mild winters are nice, considering we had the first one ever
here this last winter. I could live with that forever.
I hate the bitter cold.
=Good word: Sultry. Thanks.
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Re: SULTRY

Postby Slava » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:When we get tired of sexy and hot, this word also works for either of these words, and lifts the level of conversation a bit, too: "Gladys Boise wore a sultry dress to the party, but it only attracted the likes of Phil Anders."

Word History: As mentioned in the Notes, today's word is a variant of sweltry, based on the verb swelter. This verb descended from Middle English swelten "to die (from burning), faint (from the heat)". So, how did we get from death to seduction?

I go for simply saying the dress was to die for.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:43 pm

Beats me, but it reminds me of
ladies shopping: "Oh those shoes are 'to die for'"!
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