Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 6157
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:41 pm

• embonpoint •

Pronunciation: æN-boN-pwahNHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Plumpness, stoutness, fleshiness, in a complimentary or euphemistic sense.

Notes: Today we have a word that has been only slightly modified from the phrase it was derived from and the sound remains French. It has no progeny or siblings, since it has remained pretty much a French word. Despite its rarity and its "Frenchiness", it appears in all the major dictionaries, including 29 of the OneLook dictionaries.

In Play: Embonpoint indicates a general fleshiness, a soft musculature mixed with some fat: "As we age, most of us incline to embonpoint." The causes of embonpoint are many and various: "Frank's much discussed embonpoint turned out to be caused by the descent of his chest to his beltline."

Word History: Today's Good Word is French embonpoint "fullness, plumpness", from the Old French phrase en bon point, figuratively "in good condition", often used as a euphemism for "fatness". Middle English had translated the French phrase into 'in good point', meaning "in good condition, healthy, fortunate" but decided to override it with the French original. French reduced Latin bonus "good" to bon. It completely remodeled Latin punctum "pinprick hole, dot" into point. Punctum is the neuter singular of punctus "pricked, pierced", the past participle of pungere "to prick, pierce". This word was inherited from PIE peu(n)k- "to prick" with a Fickle N. The Fickle N underwent metathesis to produce pugnare "to fight", which underlies the English borrowing pugnacious. (Today's rather arcane Good Word was a gift of 'Mr. Simple', a newcomer to the crowd of contributors.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 663
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: Embonpoint

Postby call_copse » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:55 am

In general this is taken to be the female bosom, which is strangely not mentioned?

Posts: 463
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:49 pm
Location: End of the Earth

Re: Embonpoint

Postby damoge » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:00 pm

Male point of view, Iain?
The general use is how I've always heard it and known it, even though I've seldom heard it applied to men.
Always thought of it as the gentile version of zaftig.
Everything works out, one way or another

David Myer
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 504
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:21 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Embonpoint

Postby David Myer » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:56 am

Wow, Debby. I have never heard of zaftig despite a vaguely Jewish heritage. I had to look it up. Very impressed.

And in another word, Iain, Buxom. I wondered about its origin and so have just looked that one up too:

"Middle English: from the stem of Old English būgan ‘to bend’ (see bow2) + -some1. The original sense was ‘compliant, obliging’, later ‘lively and good-tempered’, influenced by the traditional association of plumpness and good health with an easy-going nature."

Bend as in shapely, I suppose.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 26 guests