• argillaceous •
ahr-jê-lay-shês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Containing or made of clay. 2. Clay-like, clayey.
Notes: If the two syllables that are in clayey or clay-like are not enough for your poem, today's word may be the word for you. It is the adjective for the noun argil, the scientific word for "clay". Argilite is a type of stone created from clay.
In Play: This word is a dangerous word to play with: "We saw farmer Brown out standing in his field, wondering when it would rain enough to soften the argillaceous soil enough to plow." The word is used mostly by geologists: "Mary picked up a chunk of argillaceous sandstone and threw it at the leader of the geological survey."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin argillaceus "of clay, clayey", a word based on argilla "(white) clay", borrowed from Greek argillos. Greek came by this word and argyros "silver" from PIE arg- "to shine; white", also found in Latin argentum "silver". Argentum went on to be used in the name Argentina, an early source of silver, and English argent "lustrous gray". English argue was borrowed from Latin arguere "to make clear, clarify", as you might do if you shine light on something. (We should now welcome Marylew Finster to our shop of contributors and thank her for sharing today's rather long and sticky Good Word.)
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