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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:37 pm

• 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.
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George Kovac
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Re: Salacious

Postby George Kovac » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:29 pm

Dr Goodword wrote:
Today's Good Word comes ultimately from Latin salax (salac-s) "fond of jumping", an adjective derived from salire "to leap, jump, hop.”

That ancient word gives us the modern salacious, sally and salient--quite a mix.

Another disparate (and non-salacious) word that leaps to mind from this Latin source is the delicious Italian veal dish called saltimbocca, “jumps in the mouth.”
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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