• fallacy •
fæ-lê-si • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. An untruth, a false idea, conclusion, or argument. 2. Falseness, incorrectness, erroneousness.
Notes: The adjective accompanying today's noun is fallacious and it does permit an adverb, fallaciously. We are also allowed to create an abstract noun, fallaciousness, from this adjective even though the meaning is pretty much the same as the second meaning of fallacy.
In Play: Fallacies are untruths, which means we are aswirl in them. We even find them entangled in our knowledge of words: "It is a widely-held fallacy that the Spanish architect Gaudí is the eponym of the English adjective gaudy." By the way, posh is not an abbreviation of "port out, starboard home" from the days of the British Empire in India. Another fallacy.
Word History: Today's Good Word is a makeover of Old French fallace, descendant of Latin fallacia "deceit". This word was built on fallax (fallac-s) "deceitful", derived from fallere "to deceive". The root of the Latin word also underlies English fail and false and, probably, Greek felos "deceitful". For sure we find it, after regular historical changes, in Russian zlo "evil". (It would not be a fallacy to say that we owe a debt of gratitude to Harry J. Walter for suggesting today's Good Word.)