• animadversion •
æ-nê-mæd-vêr-zhên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: No, this word does not mean that you find animals repulsive; it refers to a highly emotional criticism or a strong critical remark based on strong feelings. The Word History gives an explanation of anima.
Notes: Today's Good Word is the action noun of the verb animadvert, and it is the patriarch of a large family of derived words. The adjective animadversive is a bit old but still available, and a person given to animadversion is an animadverter. Because advert is the British abbreviation for advertisement, animadvertiser has been (mis)used in the same service. We should avoid this word, however, and be careful not to confuse the two word families.
In Play: Today's word can refer to the action of criticism: "Yes, Felix, I think writing "Go, Lions, go!" on the hall walls with spray paint will attract considerable animadversion from the principal's office." It may also refer to individual instances of criticism: "Preston Londard received several unrepeatable animadversions from his partner when he dropped the opened paint can on the floor."
Word History: Today's word comes from Latin animadversio(n), the action noun of animadvertere "to turn the mind toward". The Latin verb is a compound made up of animus "mind, soul, spirit" + advertere "to turn toward". Advertere, in its turn, is made up of ad "to(ward)" + vertere "to turn". The root of this basic verb, vert-, turns up in many English borrowings: invert, convert, subvert. In English, the same root became worm, comprising the basic ver- root with an -m suffix instead of -t. The V became W in Germanic languages, but remained in Latin vermis "worm", a word which went on to become Italian vermicelli "little worms"—enough to turn your stomach. (Of course, we feel just the opposite of animadversion toward Mark Bailey for suggesting today's extraordinary Good Word.)
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