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genobility

Printable Version Pronunciation: jen-no-bil-ê-ti Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: A potential community of genetically engineered people whose genes would be manipulated before birth to make them "perfect", let's say, uniformly smart, strong, beautiful, compassionate, and charismatic.

Notes: We seldom risk writing up a word that has no reference and possibly never will, but today's Good Word raises a hitherto unavailable possibility: engineering the genetic properties of babies so that they have all the qualities we want our children to have. The human genome (DNA map of all the human genes) is almost complete. When it is, we will be able to identify and modify genes to create specific characteristics in our children. I suppose the genoble community will comprise genoblemen and genoblewomen, but I'm just guessing.

In Play: That day hasn't arrived yet, so it is difficult to imagine how we might use this word today: "Creating a uniform genobility will be difficult since few of us can agree on what a perfect human is." We can only surmise the social impact of the genobility: "After the rise of the genobility, will the rest of us become the genpeasants?" Wherever genetics leads us, English will provide the terminology we need to talk about it.

Word History: Today's Good Word is a blend of genetic and nobility. A blend is the result of taking two words and just smushing them together. We blend words rather often in English but it is far less common in other languages. Nobility is the noun from noble, which we borrowed, via Old French, from nobilis "noble". Nobilis is a derivation of the root gno- "know", the source of English know and Latin gnoscere "get to know". The Latin verb later became simply noscere, but not before ignorare "to not know" arose. This verb was borrowed in two forms by English as ignore and ignorant, qualities the genobility would ignore. (We cannot, however, ignore the debt we owe to Sandra Larsen, however, for alerting us to this newly emerging Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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