• elucidate •
ê-lu-sê-dayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: Make lucid, make clear, clarify.
Notes: The noun from today's word is elucidation, the adjective elucidative, and the one who elucidates is an elucidator—forms for all contexts in which you might want to use this word.
In Play: Today's word offers relief to the heavily overworked clarify and clear up in situations like this: "Thank you very much, sir, but could you elucidate the term 'salary-neutral transmotion'?" Elucidation does usually imply an elaborate clarification: "After I elucidated the process several minutes for him, Klinck finally grasped the fact that he could not ski up the hill, but had to ride the ski lift."
Word History: This word is based on Latin elucidatus, the past participle of elucidare "to enlighten", comprising the intensifier prefix ex- "out (of)" + lucidus "bright", itself derived from the verb lucere "to shine". Lucere descends from PIE leuk- "shine, bright", which became leoht in Old English; today it is light. The Latin word for "light" is lux (luc-s), which we find, rather surprisingly, in the name Lucifer, the "light bearer". Why? A mistranslation of Isaiah 14:12: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" The original Hebrew refers to a fallen Babylonian King Helal, son of Shahar, whose name mean "day star, son of the dawn". Apparently, translators before the time of King James misassociated this passage with Satan, whom they named "Light-Bearer", Luci-fer, from luc- "light" + fer "bearer", a word the Romans also assigned the Morning Star.
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