Printable Version
Pronunciation: ai-de-tik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Vivid, unusually clear, detailed (of an image). 2. Photographic, able to recall images with unusual clarity and vividness.

Notes: Remember that the [ei] at the beginning of this word is pronounced the same way as it is in eider of eider down. If you tire of referring to your memory as photographic, you can now use this Good Word to break the monotony. The adverb is eidetically and the noun, eideticity, which is very rare.

In Play: Today's Good Word is a more specific substitute for vivid or detailed when referring to pictures or images: "I have a very eidetic picture in my mind of the expression on her face the first time I used the word eidetic." However, as mentioned above, it can also refer to memory: "Since James Bond has an eidetic memory, his cameras can be designed to do other things: shoot, explode, send secret messages, and the like."

Word History: This word is the English version of Greek eidetikos "of a form", the adjective of eidos "form", related to idein "to see". Idein is the origin of Greek idea "appearance (what is seen), form, idea". The original stem contained an initial [w] (*weid-) which shows up in English wise and wit, not to mention German wissen "to know". Old French did not have a [w] sound but it did have a [gw] sound, spelled "gu". So, when it borrowed *wid- "knowledge" from Old Germanic, the results were guidar in Provencal and, later guier "to guide", whence English guide and guy "guide wire". Oh, yes, in Sanskrit the same root emerged as the Veda in Rig Veda "verse of knowledge". (Today we thank Dr. Lyn Laboriel for her guidance and knowledge in selecting this word for our series.)

Dr. Goodword,

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