• thaumaturgy •
thaw-mê-têr-jee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)
Meaning: Miracle-working, wonder-working, the performance of a miracle, doing magic, legerdemain.
Notes: This rarely encountered word, rather surprisingly, belongs to a large, prominent family. A thaumaturge is a miracle worker. The adjective is thaumaturgic but if it is too short for you, you may add an empty -al to make thaumaturgical, with no difference in meaning. For the adverb, however, you must add this empty suffix: thaumaturgically.
In Play: Here is the way to avoid repeating the word miracle over and over, while sending your mates scurrying for their dictionaries: "I'm afraid only thaumaturgy will get me through chemistry with a passing grade this term." Whenever extreme difficulty is involved, today's word is the perfect hyperbole: "It would require thaumaturgy to make Hedda Hair look 20 years younger; another facelift isn't going to do it."
Word History: Today's Good Word is an Anglicization of the Greek word, thaumatourgia "wonder-working", a compound noun based on thaumatos "wonder, marvel" + ergy "work". It is related to thaumatogeny "the origination of life as a miraculous process", thaumatolatry "excessive reverence for the miraculous", and thaumatology "the description or accounting of the miraculous". (Well, it was almost thaumaturgy that Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira stumbled across this Good Word and suggested it in the Agora—certainly very good luck.)
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