• articulate •
ahr-tik-yê-lêt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Well-spoken, having the gift of excellent speech, the ability to speak or write well; well-said or well-written. 2. [Anatomy and Mechanics] Jointed, having joints.
Notes: This word is one of those words ending on -ate that can be an adjective or verb depending on how the final syllable is pronounced. The vowel in that syllable is reduced to [ê] in the adjective but in the verb it is pronounced [ay]: [ahr-tik-yê-layt], as to clearly articulate a policy, i.e. lay out the details of it precisely. The adjective offers an adverb, articulately, and the verb, a noun, articulation.
In Play: Two nights ago voters in the US elected Senator Barack Obama the President of the United States. In only 44 years the United States has moved from a racially segregated nation to one in which an African American can rise to the highest office. The people of the US have earned the right to be proud of that accomplishment. President-elect Obama accepted the nomination in an articulate and uplifting speech to a clearly enraptured audience. Those of us at alphaDictionary wish him well in his unique and distinctively important presidency.
Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from articulatus "jointed", the past participle of articulare "to divide into joints". This verb comes from articulus "small joint, article", a diminutive of artus "joint". This word was borrowed from Greek arthron "joint, article". You can see the root of this word in arthritis, the joint inflammation, and arthrosis, a degenerative joint disease. The original semantic implication is that articulated speech or writing has clear points connected in a clear manner. The word article began its life referring to an articulated part of a larger document, as an article in a contract or law. This meaning easily migrated to a separate piece in a newspaper, journal, or other publication with distinct but connected parts.
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