• copious •Pronunciation: ko-pi-yês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Abundant, profuse, abounding, very plentiful.
Notes: Today's Good Word refers to anything in large quantities. It comes with an adverb, copiously, and an ordinary noun, copiousness. Copiosity was tried for a while in the 16th and 17th centuries, but was ultimately left by the wayside.
In Play: Anything that may abound can be called copious: "Sam's lawn had copious weeds before he bought a small herd of goats." (Now Sam has no lawn at all.) Even abstractions: "Siddie Hall received copious coverage from the press during her unsuccessful campaign for mayor." (That's why she lost.)
Word History: This word was borrowed from French copieux, which was inherited from Latin copiosus "plentiful". The Latin adjective was derived from the noun copia "plenty, abundance", also the origin of English copy. Copia appears in cornucopia "horn of plenty", borrowed wholesale from Latin. It was originally derived from com- "with" + op- "work, produce" + the noun suffix -ia. Now, op- lies at the root of Latin opera "work(ing)", opus "a work", and English operate, from the past participle of Latin operari "to work". We see it again in opulent and optimum, the Latin neuter singular of optimus "best".