• salacious •
Pronunciation: sê-lay-shês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Lewd, lascivious, lustful, bawdy. 2. Explicitly sexually lewd, pornographic, suggestive of moral looseness.
Notes: Two nouns accompany today's Good Word: salaciousness and salacity. I like the smoothness of salacity [sê-læ-si-tee], but the clumsier salaciousness is probably used more frequently.
In Play: If you prefer to avoid the word pornography around the kids, you might substitute today's Good Word. "Her dress went beyond sexy; it was positively salacious," is equally expressive of your displeasure at overly revealing clothing. Of course, it is probably most widely used in describing behavior: "Lucy Lastic's tongue circled her lips so salaciously, Gene Poole's jaw dropped and his knife fell into his soup."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes ultimately from Latin salax (salac-s) "fond of jumping", an adjective derived from salire "to leap, jump, hop." (I will leave it to your imagination to make the connection between jumping and the meaning of today's Good Word.) Salire was inherited by Old French where it produced the noun saillie "a sally, a rush forward". English borrowed this word and converted it back to a verb, sally, as 'to sally forth to the attack'. This sally is unrelated to the name Sally, which originally was the nickname for Sarah. English does possess at least one other word based on the same verb: salient. Salient things, of course, jump out at you and grab your attention.