Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-dê-mênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, Noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Firm, fixed, unchangeable, immovable, stubbornly unyielding and utterly unresponsive to persuasion. 2. (Noun) A supremely hard stone or other impenetrable substance.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a very good word indeed, behaving itself just as we would expect. The adverb is adamantly and the noun, adamancy. There is nothing unpredictable about this word. Enjoy it.

In Play: When nothing, absolutely nothing, can convince you to change your mind, you are adamant: "I remain adamant in my opposition to any Dutch uncle French-kissing an Italian, dressing in front of a German shepherd." (I know it rarely happens.) I also think we should sprinkle our conversations with this Good Word in its guise as a noun: "Don't even try convincing Major Payne of anything: his head is macrocephalic and his heart, a cold adamant."

Word History: Today's Good Word came to English via a rather circuitous route. It began as ancient Greek adamas, adamant-, which originally meant "unconquerable", an adjective comprising a- "not" + damaz-ein "to conquer, tame". Later, however, adamas came to refer to something impenetrably hard and in that sense Latin borrowed it: lapis adamas (Genitive case: lapidis adamantis) "hard stone = magnet; diamond". English borrowed this version in the sense of "hard, unmovable". Then in Medieval Latin, for some odd reason, the initial A and D switched places; adamas became diamas, diamant-is, meaning only "diamond". French developed this form into diamant, which English borrowed and mellowed into diamond. Oh, one other thing: the same Proto-Indo-European word that became damaz- in Greek, became tame in Modern English. Strange bedfellows, don't you think?

Dr. Goodword,

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