Printable Version
Pronunciation: æd-vêrt-ênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Attentive, heedful, aware.

Notes: Today's Good if rarely used Word is the adjective of the verb advert "take heed of, pay attention to" (as opposed to avert "turn away from"). Its negative correlate, inadvertent "inattentive, heedless" is used so much more frequently, it is often taken as an orphan negative, a negative without a corresponding positive. The verb is also related to advertisement, a noun which the British reduce to advert, too. Americans trim it all the way back to ad.

In Play: Today's Good Word is just the opposite of inadvertent in the strictest senses of the two words: "Josie, you should be more advertent of the clock when you come to work in the morning and try to arrive a bit closer to the time we open." We also should be more advertent of the verb today's word is based on: "If everyone would advert to the smoke coming from the ceiling, I'm sure we would all agree that it is time to vacate the building."

Word History: Today's word comes to us from Latin advertere "turn toward," from ad "toward" + vertere "to turn"—hmm...adds up, doesn't it? Both the English words versus and adverse are related to this Latin stem. The root that morphed into this Latin verb came into the Germanic languages as *werth, which ended up as English -ward "in the direction of", heard in words like toward, westward, and homeward. We should also be advertent of the fact that the E and R traded places at some point in a process known as metathesis, so that the same root gave us writhe and wreath, both involved somehow with turning.

Dr. Goodword,

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