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expatiate

Printable Version Pronunciation: ek-spay-shi-ayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive (no direct object)

Meaning: 1. To move about freely without specific direction, to wander. 2. To speak or write at length with little or no focus.

Notes: Just as today's word has two meanings, it has two adjectives expressing those meanings. Expatiative goes with the first meaning: "tending to spread, expansive". Expatiatory is associated with the second sense above, as to be in an expatiatory mood. The noun, of course, is expatiation. The two words most often confused with this one is expiate "to make amends, atone" and expatriate "to move abroad".

In Play: Let us not forget the original meaning of this word, which is still valid: "Clementine left Waldemar because of what she called his 'expatiating hand'." We can do that without losing sight of the more common second meaning of today's word: "Oh, daddy, please don't expatiate on the virtues of clean living again!"

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from exspatiatus, the past participle of the Latin verb exspatiare "to wander, digress", based on ex- "from, out of" + spatium "space, course". This Latin word went on to become space in Old French, when English borrowed it, and espace in Modern French. Spatium itself came from a Proto-Indo-European stem, spei- "expand, extend, stretch" that came to the Germanic languages as German spät "late". Russian speshit' "hurry" is probably another relative. (It's time to hurry up and expatiate a bit on our gratitude to Lew Jury for suggesting today's Good Word. Unfortunately, our space is limited so, "Thanks, Lew".)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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