es-tê-vayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive
Meaning: 1. Spend the summer, to summer somewhere. 2. To spend the summer in a dormant state (antonym of hibernate). Bears hibernate through the winter to avoid the seasonal severity; desert amphibians aestivate in the summer for the same reason.
Notes: You may, if it pleases you, omit the initial A in today's Good Word: estivate is as good as aestivate. The ae ligature (æ) is a hold-over from Latin, probably indicating the same pronunciation as the A in bat ([bæt] in our pronunciation guide). The act of aestivating is aestivation and a more Latiny adjective for adjectival summer or summery is aestival. Aestival also forms a seasonal group with hibernal "winter(y)", autumnal "fall(-like)", and vernal "spring(-like)".
In Play: Does summer in the phrase, "I summer on the Côte d'Azur," strike you as beneath the dignity of Côte d'Azur—and the amount of money you spend there? Then try, "I aestivate each year on the Côte d'Azur" and impress your friends even more. If your school is out for the summer but you are the only one of your clique without a job, impress them with, "I will be aestivating this summer." Of course, unless you can aestivate on the Côte d'Azur, you should keep looking for a job.
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin aestivare "to summer somewhere" from aestas "summer" with the same root as aestus "heat". Akin to Sanskrit inddhe "it ignites", Greek aithos "fire", and Old High German eiten "to heat", which gave Modern German Hitze "heat." The same Proto-Germanic root that produced German Hitze came up heat in English. (Speaking of which, we hope Katy Brezger keeps up the heat on finding words like today's for our Good Word series.)
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