Word Frequency Lists Translation Services Word Databases

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Denver Colorado ArchitectWebsite Translation


Printable Version
Pronunciation: pek-ê-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Capable of sin, given to sinning.

Notes: We generally think of impeccable "flawless" as an orphan negative, without a positive. But impeccable also means "sinless" because its positive counterpart, peccable, means "sinful". The noun from this word is peccability. It has a cousin with a similar meaning, peccant "sinful", which also has a noun, peccancy "sinfulness".

In Play: Today's word shouldn't be used in referring to those people known to be sinful; peccant is a better word for them. Today's word is closer in meaning to fallible: "Those of us in the USA today look forward hopefully to a new era of government in the hands of new though nonetheless peccable leaders." Peccable, however, could find plenty to do around the office: "I think we should ask someone less peccable than Robin Banks to look after the coffee money."

Word History: Today's Good Word is built on the Latin verb peccare "to stumble, go astray, sin". The root is ped-/pod- "foot" found in such borrowings as pedal, pedestrian, podiatrist, and tripod. Apparently a suffixed form of this word similar to *ped-cos "misstep" existed at one time before the formation of Latin and this word gave rise to *pedcare "to misstep". The D in this word then predictably converted to C, leaving Latin with peccare. The meaning then moved from an actual misstep to a metaphorical moral one, "to sin". So today's Good Word has made a remarkable journey to its current form and meaning—and all on foot! (Today we thank the impeccable Susan Kappel for raising the question, "Where are peccable and ravel?")

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!