• aficionado •
ê-fi-shi-ê-nah-do • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: An enthusiastic maven, fan(atic), knowledgeable devotee.
Notes: Aficionado is a masculine word in Spanish. Its sister, aficionada, is still in use in the English-speaking world. These words are such recent additions to the English vocabulary (1830s) that neither has had time to create a lexical family. Remember, it begins on an A, not an O. The plural is formed without an E: aficionados.
In Play: Aficionado is a serious surrogate for enthusiast: "Good Word subscribers around the world are known as aficionados of the English language." It refers to a seriously committed fan: "The Podunk Jazz Festival is known only to the hard-core jazz aficionado."
Word History: Today's Good Word IS Spanish aficionado "devotee, avid fan", literally "someone who has an affection (afición) for". Afición was handed down from Latin affectio(n) "relation, disposition", the action noun of afficere "to influence, affect", source of the English borrowing affect. Latin created its word out of ad "(up) to" + the combining form of facere "do, make". Facere was based on Proto-Indo-European dhe-/dho- "to put, place", source also of English do, Russian det' "to put", and German tun "to do". Latin facilis "easy to do, doable" was borrowed by English, via French, as facile. The past participle of facere is factus, which English borrowed as fact, along with a whole series of Latin words on -fectus, the combining form of factus: defect, affect, perfect, and infect. (Today's Good Word came from long-time Good Word aficionado and editor of the series, Jeremy Busch.)
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