Printable Version
Pronunciation: bru-mês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Foggy, hazy, misty.

Notes: Today's word is the adjective accompanying the noun brume "fog, mist". Its cousin, brumal means "wintry, related to winter". How two related words could have such disparate meanings will become clear in the Word History.

In Play: The implication of brumous is not only "foggy", but also "cold and gloomy": "'Twas a brumous morn when Minnie Miles set out upon her long journey home." We have no reason not to use today's Good Word metaphorically: "Hazel's brumous arguments convinced no one to vote for her."

Word History: This word was captured on one of English's many raids on the French vocabulary. The French form was brumeux "misty, foggy, hazy", based on brume "mist, haze". French inherited the word, as usual, from Latin bruma "winter", a reduction of brevima (dies) "the shortest day", i.e. the winter solstice, hence the sense of "wintry" in its meaning. Brevis was the Latin word for "short", consistent with the meaning of English brief and brevity, both borrowed from Latin via French. (We want to be clear, not brumous, in expressing our gratitude to Sue Gold of Westtown School for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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