Printable Version
Pronunciation: dis-bU-zêm Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To confess, admit, to unburden oneself, release pent-up feelings (to someone).

Notes: Because the mother's breast is associated with closeness and warmth, we have enjoyed bosom friends and bosom buddies for ages. The lovely verb that goes along with these compounds has, however, almost dropped from the English vocabulary. Even though bosom is associated more often with women now, it fits both men and women in its metaphorical sense of a comfort zone, as in the metaphor, "to rest in the bosom of Abraham". The antonym of this word, embosom, refers to clasping to any chest or simply to cherish, as to embosom the love of your life forever.

In Play: Disbosom might be thought of as a more personal, even intimate way of expressing confession: "After a few martinis at the club, Lance Boyle tends to disbosom his problems with whomever he happens to be drinking." However, remember that the bosom is a comfort zone, so today's Good Word may be used in a wide assortment of metaphorical senses: "Justin Thyme was encouraged at hearing the first robin of spring disbosoming his very soul to the rising sun from the oak tree outside Thyme's window."

Word History: Although traces of today's Good Word are found in many Germanic languages, its exact origin remains rather mysterious. We find it as Busen in German and boezem in Dutch. It probably developed from the Proto-Indo-European base bhou(s)- "to grow, swell", seen in the root of Russian razbuxanie "swelling". (We have long passed the point where I should have disbosomed my warmest gratitude to Paul Ogden, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg for their much appreciated voluntary services as editors of this series. Any errors remaining after their scrutiny are, of course, my responsibility alone.)

Dr. Goodword,

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