Printable Version
Pronunciation: -ki-ti Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: (Mostly in Ireland and Newfoundland) Of a dull, drab, dun gray-brown color resembling mud.

Notes: Mud is sometimes added to this word, making it duckety-mud for emphasis. Today's word is a lexical orphan—no derivations. It may also be extended by adding dun at the beginning of the word with or without a hyphen: dunduckety or dun-duckety.

In Play: Without the extension, in Ireland or Newfoundland you may hear things like this: "Hector carries his tools about on a broken-down duckety pickup truck." In its expanded form, you may hear things like this: "Older men seem to prefer dunduckety clothing, avoiding anything colorful."

Word History: Today's Good Word is actually a clipping of dunduckety, a rhyming compound made up of dun + duck + -ety a random noun suffix. The origin of dun is probably Celtic. Irish donn and Welsh dwn both indicate shades of brown. If this is the origin, the etymological trail ends with these two words. Duck is another matter. If you've noticed the identity of this noun with the verb duck, you're right on track. Danish dykand "duck", literally "dive-duck", and Swedish dykfågel "duck", literally "dive-fowl", show the relation between the two. The PIE word for "duck" was aneti-, the results of which we see in Danish dyk-and. Anglo-Saxon may have had a compound like this from which the second element was clipped rather than the first. Who knows?

Dr. Goodword,

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