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moreish

Printable Version Pronunciation: mor-ish Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Encouraging the desire for more, making you want more.

Notes: Today's Good Word is an odd little fellow for reasons I lay out in the Word History. However, it has made it into all the fashionable dictionaries, so we are justified in offering it a place among the fashionable alphaDictionary Good Words. This word is common in Britain and the UK but rarely pops up in the US. The adverb and noun are moreishly and moreishness, respectively.

In Play: We have a TV commercial for potato chips (crisps) in the US in which one actor bets another that he can't eat just one. Although the word isn't used, the first actor obviously thinks the chips moreish. We most often use this word in connection with food: "Lydia, although your roast goose with the turnip stuffing is quite moreish, I am so full I couldn't eat another bite." However, it works just as well with other objects of desire: " Mollie Spancer-Downe always keeps us laughing with her moreish good humor."

Word History: Today's Good Word is good and awkward because, first of all, we don't create new words from comparative adjectives in English. We don't say things like smallerish or biggerish. Also, the final E of more shouldn't appear before the suffix -ish. We don't keep the final E on largish, latish, or modish, so its use on moreish is curious, to say the least. When it first emerged in English, around the 1690s (yes, sixteen nineties), moreish was spelled without the E as morish. The E has only recently been added to the word. It may have been reinserted to make the word's origin, hence meaning, more evident. Still, it is an odd-looking little lexical dude. (Now let's all thank Monika Freund for sending us today's moreish Good Word in hopes she will send us, well, more.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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