Printable Version
Pronunciation: i-fyuz Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To pour forth, flow out(ward), spill out, emanate, give off. 2. To make an excessive display of enthusiasm, to gush excitedly.

Notes: This word once was used as an adjective if pronounced [ifjus], as 'effuse praise', though few current US dictionaries mention this usage. They report the adjective connected to the verb as effusive with a corresponding adverb, effusively, and noun, effusiveness. This adjective's meaning has drifted a bit off course to "irrepressible, overzealous" as in 'effusive joy'. Effusion expresses effusive action literally, as in 'an effusion of smoke from a smoker'.

In Play: Since today's contributor recommended effusive, here is an example using that word: "Rusty Hook became effusive in telling the story about the fish he had caught of the coast of Florida." The verb in the sense of effusive is a back-derivation of the second sense of effusive above: "'You haven't changed a bit,' she effused, referring to our senior year in high school"

Word History: Today's Good Word comes via French from Latin effusus, the past participle of effundere "to pour out, pour forth, shed, spread abroad", composed of ex "out (of)" + fundere "to pour". The Proto-Indo-European mother of fundere was ghu(n)d "pour" with a Fickle N. Any initial consonant followed by an [h] became F in Latin. The N drops out in the past participle of Latin verbs. Frangere "to break" : fractus "broken" (whence English fracture) is another example. The Germanic languages do not usually get the N, so we are not surprised when the same PIE word turns up in English as gush and in Icelandic as geysa "to gush", which underlies Geysir, the name of a hot spring in southwest Iceland. (We would not like to effusively thank William Hupy for submitting today's most fascinating word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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