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nuciferous

Printable Version Pronunciation: nu-si-fê-rês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Bearing or producing nuts.

Notes: Today's is not a common word and seems to be a lexical orphan without any derivations. It would be amenable to the suffix -nous: nuciferousness "the ability to bear nuts", but no one seems to have used this word yet. Today's Good Word is, of course, related to nucifragous "nut-cracking", as a nucifragous bird "bird that cracks nuts". Nuciform "nut-like" is also a cousin.

In Play: Nuts!Let us begin with a sentence containing today's word in its literal sense: "Nuciferous trees attract squirrels." But then political campaigns get a little squirrelly, too, don't they? Could we use nuciferous in a figurative sense in discussing them? "I pay little attention to political campaigns because they tend to get rather nuciferous, especially toward the end." Some might say that interstate highways at rush hour are nuciferous in this sense.

Word History: Today's Good Word was a Latin compound made up of nuc- "nut" + ferre "to bear, carry" + us, an adjective suffix. The Latin word for "nut" was nux, nucis, so the root was the nuc- that we see in today's word. The same root came down through Old Germanic to English as nut. The diminutive of nux was nucleus "little nut", which English kept a tracing of. (We would have to be a little nutty not to thank Luciano Eduardo Oliveira, one of the Good Word editors, for suggesting today's tasty Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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