• sally •
Pronunciation: sæ-lee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: (Often used with forth) 1. To suddenly rush out aggressively, to sortie. 2. To set out confidently on a trip or other venture.
Notes: This verb may be used as a noun as in: After the futile sally, the commander gave his troops a rest. Today's word is not to be confused with the given name Sally, which originally was a nickname for Sarah. Also, remember to change the Y to I before any suffix beginning with an E: sallied, sallied, but not those beginning with I: sallying.
In Play: Today's Good Word implies leaving and entering into a new venture: "When the boss asked for a volunteer to take customer complaints, Ben Dover sallied forth to offer his services." There are overtones of self-confidence and adventure that attach themselves to this word: "As soon as they arrived, the children sallied forth to explore the house of their grandparents."
Word History: Today's Good Word from Middle French saillie "a rushing forth", a noun concocted from past participle of saillir "to leap, rush forward". French inherited this word from Latin salire "to spring, leap (out)", ultimate source of English salient. (Things salient jump out at you.) Another English word coming from this same Proto-Indo-European root is somersault. It was originally an old Provencal compound noun, sobresaut, made up of sobre "above, over", the Provencal result of Latin super "over, above" + saut, from Latin saltus "a jump, leap". Old French borrowed this version of the word as sombresault at which point English borrowed it, and simplified the consonant cluster MBR to just M. (We must all now sally forth and thank Gene DuBose for spotting today's Good Word and suggesting it.)