Printable Version
Pronunciation: dê-lor-rê-fyuj Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Refuge from grief or dolor, something that banishes or mitigates grief.

Notes: This word is a rarity, indeed. It has no entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), just a mention alongside demonifuge "medicine for exorcising demons". None of the few dictionaries that carry it show any derivations but, if centrifuge : centrifugal is any indication, dolorifugal [dê-lê-ri-fyu-gêl] should be acceptable.

In Play: The OED has but one citation of this word, taken from Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) "The children...had made use of this a species of dolorifuge after the death of the horse." But it is easy to think of other uses: "Ice cream is Dolores's favorite dolorifuge after a bad day at the office."

Word History: Today's Good Word was created from two Latin words, dolor "pain, suffering" + the root of fugere "to drive away, make flee". The noun dolor came from the verb dolere "to suffer, feel pain". This word apparently derived from PIE del-/dol- "to split, divide", source also of Lithuanian dalis "part", English tiller "shoot from the base of a plant", Danish telt "tent", and German Zelt "tent". Fugare goes back to PIE bheug- "to flee, escape". Greek phyza "flight, panic" and phyge "flight, exile", and Lithuanian bauginti "to frighten, scare" come from the same PIE word. (Lest Jeremy Busch feel the need for a dolorfuge, let's now acknowledge yet another great contribution of a Good Word from him.)

Dr. Goodword,

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