Printable Version
Pronunciation: ee-bUl-yênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Exuberant, high-spirited, bubbling over with excitement and enthusiasm. 2. Boiling, bubbling.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the noun from ebulliate "to boil out". This verb has a large, happy family. The noun from the verb is ebullition. There are a few other peripheral nouns, for example, ebulliometer, a tool for determining the dew point and boiling point of volatile liquids, and ebullioscope, an instrument for determining the strength of liquors. We have two choices for a noun from today's word: ebullience or ebulliency. Only one choice for the adverb: ebulliently.

In Play: The best way to remember this word is to associate it with the phrase "bubbling over": "Mel Pew arrives at the store every day in ebullient spirits, ready to serve his customers with a cheery smile." Emma Chiset is one of Mel's most ebullient customers. Good news is apt to make us ebullient: "Lucinda Head was ebullient at the receipt of her acceptance letter from Harvard."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin ebullien(t)s "boiling over", the present participle of ebullire "to boil over". Ebullire comprises the remnants of ex- "out (of)" + bullire "to boil, to bubble". The root of this verb is derived from bulla "a bubble, knob, the seal on an official document". Ultimately the word in this meaning came to refer to the official document itself, as in papal bull. This root is thought ultimately to come from Gaulish, an extinct Celtic language, but no one has found its source yet. (An ebullient 'thank you' to the still mysterious Klimt of the Alpha Agora for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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