• irascible •
i-ræ-sê-bêl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Easily angered or led to anger.
Notes: The noun from today's word is irascibility, though we may use irascibleness if we need something clunkier. The adverb is irascibly and that is about as far as derivations from irascible go.
In Play: Irascibility is usually a part of one's character: "You don't want to ask anyone as irascible as Donny Brooke about his age." However, events can lead to temporary irascible states: "Look out for Les Burnham; he has become quite irascible since the boss took away his company credit card."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us, via Old French, from Latin irascibilis, an adjective derived from irasci "to be angry", a verb built on ira "anger", the source of English ire. Ira came from the Proto-Indo-European word eis-er- "fiery, passionate", which emerged in Greek as hieros "holy, filled with the divine". We see this element in words borrowed from Greek like hieroglyphics "divine writing" and hierarchy. In the Germanic languages it became the word naming an important metal made with fire, iron, Eisen in Modern German, ijzen in Dutch, and järn in Swedish.. (Although we are sure Susan Lister is not irascible, we would not like to forget to thank her for suggesting yet another Good Word—this one.)