• vespertine •
ves-pêr-tain • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Occurring in or otherwise related to evening, the time following events crepuscular.
Notes: Today's lovely Good Word is the adjective for vesper "evening; the Evening Star (Venus in the evening)" or vespers, an evening church service. Several synonyms have been tried, including vesperian and vespertinal, but today's Good Word has survived the test of time.
In Play: This is a lovely substitute for evening: "We sang around a campfire that chased away the vespertine shadows and the slowly enclosing chill." It may also refer to animals that haunt the evening: "Our voices were joined by the singing of hundreds of vespertine frogs hiding in the shadows."
Word History: Today's word comes from Old French vespre "evening, nightfall" (Modern French vêpre), inherited from Latin vesper "evening star, evening, west". It ultimately comes from the PIE stem wes-pero- "evening, night", source also of Polish wieczór, Russian vecher, Lithuanian vakaras, Welsh ucher. Greek hesperos "evening, night" shares the same source. Trade the suffix -pero for -t and wes- becomes English west and German West. (We owe our gratitude to Rob Towart for reminding us of today's beautiful Good Word.)
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