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rebarbative

Printable Version Pronunciation: ree-bahr-bê-tiv Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Repulsive, repellant.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes from a good family, including an adverb, rebarbatively and two different nouns: rebarbativity and rebarbativeness. No—however repulsive barbarians may be, the word barbarian is unrelated to today's Good Word.

In Play: Today's word is applied to the antitheses: "Maude Lynn Dresser found the company's new dress code utterly rebarbative to her sense of style and fashion." But then her fellow workers find Maude Lynn's personality as rebarbative as her clothing. Kids, if you ever need your parents to run to the dictionary so that you can slip out, try this: "Mom! I find your insistence that I clean my room before going out a rebarbative abuse of parental authority!" I would clean a child's room just to hear their mastery of a lexical gem like today's Good Word.

Word History: Today's Good Word is the French feminine adjective rébarbative, unchanged except for the removal of the cute acute on the first E. The French adjective was made from the verb rebarber "to confront", itself consisting of the prefix re- "back, again" + barbe "beard". Apparently, the original sense of this word was something on the order of "(facing) beard-to-beard". The original root for the word "beard" in the Indo-European languages apparently ended on a D. That would explain the final D in beard, Serbian brada, and Russian boroda, root of the name of the Russian composer, Borodin. Latin shifted the D to a B, resulting in barba. It remained barba in Spanish but was reduced to barbe in French.

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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