Unguent

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 5010
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Contact:

Unguent

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:38 pm

• unguent •


Pronunciation: êng-gwênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A soothing ointment, unction, balm, or salve. 2. Anything that soothes, smooths the way around difficulties.

Notes: However rare today's Good Word may be, it is surrounded by a rather full though equally rare family of derivations. An unguentarium is a container for unguent, used mostly by archaeologists. A maker of unguents is an unguentary or unguentarian. The adjective is unguentous "greasy, smeared with ointment".

In Play: The basic reference of today's word is any soother or restorative lotion, unction, or salve: "Lucinda Head staves off aging with every ointment, unction, balm, or unguent that flows out of a tube, bottle, or can." It may be used metaphorically for anything soothing: "Kind words were no unguent that could solace Siddie Hall for her loss of the election."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed via French from Latin unguentem "ointment", noun of the verb unguere "to anoint". Latin obtained its verb via the PIE root ongw- "salve, to anoint", source also of Sanskrit anakti "anoints, smears", Armenian aucanem "I anoint", Swiss German dialect anken "to butter", and Welsh ymenyn "butter". We find Latin grandchildren in all the Romance languages: French onguent, Italian unguento, Portuguese unguento, and Spanish ungüento. (William Hupy always has an unguentous Good Word like today's for those lucky enough to be subscribers of this series.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5529
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Unguent

Postby Slava » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:09 am

I've always enjoyed the phrase "pungent unguent." :)
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

misterdoe
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 567
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:21 am
Location: New York City area
Contact:

Re: Unguent

Postby misterdoe » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:30 pm

Unguentous? :? I prefer the related unctuous, though I guess that "oilyness" is more metaphorical. :) I saw the word in a nostalgic article about the Isley Brothers in reference to lead singer Ronald, calling him something like "maybe the most unctuous of the soul balladeers."

User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5529
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Unguent

Postby Slava » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:53 pm

I feel sorry for Ronald. Unctuous is a rather negative term to describe someone, or their voice. It's more like "smarmy" than soothingly smooth.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.


Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 11 guests