Printable Version
Pronunciation: kên-sin-ês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Harmonious, elegant, neatly arranged, without loose ends.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes equipped with an adverb, concinnously, and a noun, concinnity, so you should be able to express the concept in any situation. It is used most often in speaking of music or scientific theories, which are concinnous if they explain a lot and leave few questions or loose ends.

In Play: A tidy theory with few loose ends reflects concinnity: "Mark Downs thinks that the conspiracy theory of life is the only perfectly concinnous one, the one that explains absolutely everything." However, we bump into concinnity elsewhere: "Rusty Horne thinks the compositions of Antônio Carlos Jobim are the most concinnous music of its time."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a light makeover of Latin concinnus "skillfully put together, well-adjusted", which went on to produce the verb concinnare "to put together, in order", and the noun concinnitas, origin of the English noun concinnity. The dictionaries say that the root of this word is "of uncertain origin", which is the etymologists' way of saying that they have absolutely no idea where it comes from. I don't, either, except that the prefix con-, of course, means "(together) with". The root is simply a mystery. (Today we can thank Ralph Mowrey for a very concinnous word that has long stumped the word history guys.)

Dr. Goodword,

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