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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:55 pm

• truculent •

Pronunciation: trê-kyê-lênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Combative, pugnacious, belligerent. 2. Cruelly fierce, savage, heinous, ferocious.

Notes: Since we recently discussed truck and truckle, we decided to round out our treatment of words containing truc- with today's offering. The noun is truculence and the adverb, truculently.

In Play: Truculence may simply be combativeness, "Your truculent reply to my offer does not bode well for an amicable settlement of the issue." However, the Islamic terrorists who have recently killed hundreds of innocent people in Bombay, New Delhi, Amman, and elsewhere, are truculent in the second sense of today's word. This is the sort of truculence that feeds terrorist organizations.

Word History: Today's sad word is another Latin captive, truculentus, with the same meaning as its English counterpart. It is based on trux ([truc-s]) "fierce". The root truc- came from PIE treê- "to cross over, get through, surmount" + -k, a PIE adjective suffix. Today's meaning of this stem apparently derives from the sense of "surmount, overcome". Since PIE [t] becomes [th] in Germanic languages like English, we expect it to show up in Middle English thrillen "to pierce, make a hole", though it might come as a surprise that the meaning this word became that of today's thrill. Even more curious is the fact that a thrill of the nose became a nostril (originally nose-thirl), the Germanic [th] reduced to the original [t]. (Our thanks to M. Henri Day, a man with a sure nose for words, for suggesting this one way back in May of 2005.)
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Postby Apoclima » Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:20 am

WS, we've got a word for you now!

Where are you?

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Postby gailr » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:06 am

This prompted me to look up truce. Same first syllable, different etymology; not related nearly enough to the WOTD.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:21 pm

You are very welcome, indeed, my dear doctor ; fortunately the wait from May to November has not, surprisingly enough, made me more truculent than usual or inspired me to add to the number of holes in that sure nose of mine, beyond the two that Evolution or Intelligent Design - take your choice ! - have placed there since early in my foetal period (the best nine months of my life)....


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