• locavore •
lo-kê-vor • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A person who purchases and eats only food grown locally.
Notes: Today's Good Word is an oddity in two senses. First, as the History will show, it has wandered away from its original meaning. Second, it has only one related derivation, business-like, itself not exactly what it looks like, since it is most often used as a synonym of serious or formal. In a large number of US dialects, the S in this word is pronounced [d] in careless speech: [bid-nis]. This is fast becoming the S-before-N rule of English, for we also hear [dÍdnt] for doesn't and [idnt] for isn't, too. Let's all be careful when we speak quickly that we don't slip into this trap that now surrounds us.
In Play: Some locations serve locavores better than others: "Henrietta found living the life of a locavore difficult when she moved to Manhattan." The fact that locavory hasn't become a fad yet doesn't bode well for the long-term survival of this Good Word: "Reba enjoys the gatherings of the local locavores for dinners of locally grown food every Thursday night."
Word History: Today's word is the rather poorly turned out word localvore, introduced in San Francisco in 2005, minus the original L. It was originally made up of English local + -vore by poor analogy with such words as carnivore and omnivore. Local comes from Latin localis, showing that we would be saying localivore if the group who coined this word had follow historical patterns of word formation. Vore comes from the root of the verb vorare "to devour", which also turns up in voracious and devour. Localis is the adjective for locus "place, position". The earliest form of locus we know of was stlocus, suggesting that its original a stem was st(e)l, which we find in German stellen "stand", Stall "stable", and Greek stellein "to arrange, send off". In English it produced stall and stable. (Here is the place where we thank Ardis Pierce for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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