Printable Version
Pronunciation: di-vêlj Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To reveal something that is private or secret. 2. (Archaic) To make known publicly.

Notes: Today's word refers to breaking a confidence. It possesses a complete array of derivations which are rarely used. The action noun is either divulgence or divulgement; the personal noun, divulger. We have an adjective, divulgatory, with a 'hard' G.

In Play: The object of today's Good Word must be something confidential, either private or secret: "Horace would not divulge his whereabouts for the past two days to his wife." His wife was secretive, too, and would not divulge to the police what she had done with his body.

Word History: Today's is another word English snitched from French, this time it's Old French divulguer, inherited from Latin divulgare "publish, make common knowledge". The Latin word consists of di(s)- "apart" + vulgare "make common, spread among the public", from vulgus "ordinary people, the public", the source of vulgar. Latin might have inherited the word from PIE ple-go-, a suffixed form of root pol-/pel- "to fill", which would make it cognate with Greek plethos "people, multitude". If so, it would be kin to English full. The meaning of the word in the Germanic languages is the same as in Greek: German Volk "people" (as in Volkswagen "car of the people"), English folk, and Dutch volk "people". In Old Norse it was folk "people", but also "army, detachment". Lithuanian has pulkas "crowd, regiment" and Russian, polk "regiment" of the same PIE origin.

Dr. Goodword,

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