• bruit •
bru-it • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To spread, broadcast, pass on (information, stories, rumors).
Notes: Though today's word is widely used, it is a rarity not only for its beauty but for the fact that it is pronounced exactly as spelled. This verb entered English as a noun meaning "noise" but later shifted to "rumor" before becoming a verb. Not much has been done with it since; the personal noun, bruiter, is a real rarity and no other derivations from it have lasted long.
In Play: Rumors and stories tend to be bruited 'about': "It is being bruited about the office that you are considering early retirement in light of your latest performance evaluation." This word implies spreading information abroad, in various directions: "Stories about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are bruited over the news every day."
Word History: Today's Good Word entered English as a noun meaning "noise" even though it originated in Old French as the past participle of bruire "to roar". The trail ends with Old French because we find no brugire in Latin, as we would expect (the G would have disappeared over time). We do find rugire "to roar" in Latin, however, and the French word for "bray" is braire. It is possible that the descendant of Latin rugire blended with braire, producing bruire, though this is unlikely (click here for more). This leaves us with a handful of clues but no conclusions as to the origins of this word. (We should, of course, bruit our gratitude to Ed Pellicciotti for his suggestion of today's Good Word around the world.)
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