• ludic •
Pronunciation: l(y)u-dik • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Playful, cheerful, spirited, sportive.
Notes: Here is an arcane word that fits into any arcane conversation you may have with your friends. If you only converse with subscribers to the Good Word, you are OK using this word. It does not have any family beyond the distant cousin mentioned in the Word History.
In Play: You must be careful with whom you use this word, but when talking with crossword fans, you may say things like this: "Fowler Fairweather is a ludic father, but a draconian boss to his employees at work." Children are the most ludic of us all: "The ludic children were cheerfully playing a game that they had made up but failed to explain the rules to one of their number."
Word History: English borrowed it from French ludique "fun, playful", which French probably got from Latin ludicer which, as an adjective, meant "playful" or "on stage". Ludicer is based on ludere "to play", a verb that came from ludus "game". The meaning of ludicer ran off to play on its own, becoming ludicrous meaning "ridiculous", now used in the sense of "way beyond ridiculous". (Debbie Moggio provided us with a ludic moment when she introduced today's old but golden Good Word in the Agora.)