• clarion •
Pronunciation: klæ-ri-ên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Clear, sharp, ringing. 2. Rousing, inspiring, up-lifting
Notes: Today's Good Word is about to be imprisoned in the idiom, clarion call. Let's not let that happen. It is probably a result of the fact that, as a noun, it refers to a high-pitched medieval trumpet no longer in use.
In Play: We meet things that are clarion every day: "Anne Chovey raised a clarion cry against the installation of parking meters in the company parking lot." Management sent out a memo with a clarion response to Anne. "Ida Ho gave a clarion warning to the citizens of her state that they should wake up to the changes creeping in."
Word History: Today's word was borrowed from Old French where is referred to a high-pitched bugle or trumpet. Old French inherited this word from Latin clario(n) "trumpet", a word based on Latin clarus "clear, evident". Italian chiaro and Spanish claro, both meaning "clear", came from the same Latin word. The interesting thing here is that Latin inherited its word from Proto-Indo-European kla-ro- "clear, glair". In fact, both words just used in the definition of kla-ro-, clear and glair, came from the same PIE source. (Today we offer William Hupy, a Lexiterian in the Agora, a clarion word of gratitude for contributing another shining Good Word to our series.)