• ardent •
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Passionately enthusiastic, fervent, fervid, intensely eager. 2. Glowing, shining, bright.
Notes: This Good Word has a couple of nouns: ardency and the dumpier ardentness. But there is yet another noun, ardor (ardour outside North America), much lovelier than either of these. The adverb is ardently, of course.
In Play: Today's word is most closely associated with desire or love: "William Arami's ardent pursuit of June McBride has born sweet fruit: they're getting married." It may be used with other passions, however: Rutherford's ardent misogyny will probably get him in trouble with the new president, Ginger Schnapps."
Word History: This Good Word was originally the present participle, arden(t)s "glowing, fiery, ablaze", of the Latin verb ardere "to burn". It was also used figuratively to refer to the passions. It started out as the Proto-Indo-European root, as- "to burn, glow". This root underwent a common Latin process called "rhotacism", which changes an [s] to an [r]. English has no such process so the same word ended up in English as ash. Temperature has always played a role in describing passions. A burning desire, a cool attitude, warm spirits, and others—all attest to the fact. (Let's all offer our most ardent appreciation to Larry Brady, a Grand Panjandrum of the Alpha Agora in the guise of "Stargzer", for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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