Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-mê-tor-kyê-list Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A so-so or lousy lover.

Notes: Because today's Good Word is such a spoken rarity, it has not raised a hearty family. (You will find the written form of this word all over the Web.) We may speculate that it may be used as an adjective: 'an amatorculist circle of friends'. This provides the basis for an adverb, amatorculistically—if you have enough breath to get through it.

In Play: If you need a word that means "lousy lover" and tests your coconversationalist's vocabulary at the same time, today's is the word for you: "June McBride divorced her husband because he was an amatorculist." It is also provides a way to tell the truth about someone clandestinely: "Phil Anders has the reputation of an amatorculist all around New Monia, and no one seems to know why."

Word History: Latin amatorcul-us "a pitiful lover" is the diminutive of amator "lover"; someone exended it by -ist, an international noun suffix. This word reveals the male domination of Roman culture, the assumption being that a good lover is a powerful one and that a weak one (the diminutive indicates a diminished version of the noun) is a bad one. The English phrase 'man up' suggests the same prejudice in our culture. What is the antonym? 'Woman down'? It is based on amor "love" and amare "to love", which also produced the Latin root for the English borrowing amorous. This word went on to produce French aimer "to love", Italian amare "to love", and Portuguese and Spanish amar "to love". How Latin came upon this word is another question, beclouded by mystery. It is, however, legitimized by its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary with one citation from a 1731 dictionary by Nathan Bailey. (Today's Good Word comes from the equally mysterious vocabulary of Grogie of the Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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