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audacity

Printable Version Pronunciation: aw-dæs-i-tee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. Striking boldness or daring. 2. Boldness with total disregard for rules and conventions.

Notes: This word is the noun accompanying the adjective audacious, which comes with an adverb, audaciously. Keep in mind the odd spelling of the sound [sh]: whenever soft [c] appears before [i] or [e], this is often the case.

In Play: Audacity usually breaks some kind of convention: "I thought that putting a frog in the water cooler showed audacity but wasn't funny in the least." It can also be just extreme boldness, though: "I think it took quite a bit of audacity for Luke Warm to propose to Susan Liddy-Gates. She turned him down, of course."

Word History: Today's Good Word goes back to Latin audax, audacis "bold, daring", the noun from audere "to dare". Audere is an odd variant of avidere "to be eager" from the adjective avidus "eager", the word which English borrowed as avid, dropping the irrelevant endings. Avidus is the adjective from avere "to long for, desire, a verb which also provided the noun avaritia "greed", which English, after French had polished it up, borrowed for its avarice. (We are happy that Kathleen McCune of Norway had the audacity to suggest today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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