• encomium •
en-ko-mi-yêm • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A panegyric, a formal expression of praise, a glowing tribute, a laudation.
Notes: It is customary to assume that perfect synonyms do not exist; however, today's word means, if not exactly, almost exactly the same as panegyric, eulogy, and laudation. You might prefer using panegyric in referring to a poetic encomium for eulogy is generally restricted to funeral speeches. Encomiastic is the adjective, from encomiast, an encomium enthusiast. You may form your plural as encomia or encomiums, whichever brings you greater pleasure.
In Play: Encomiastic ebullience can erupt almost anywhere: "The annual report was less a statement of the company's financial status than an encomium to the president." However, it is most likely to occur in the presence of famous men and women: "The chairman's encomia to the esteemed members of the panel were so long as to leave little time for the esteemed members themselves to speak before breaking for lunch."
Word History: It is safe to say that English is no more shameless in borrowing from French and Latin than Latin was in borrowing from Greek. Today's Good Word speaks to the point. Latin encomium was snitched by the Romans from Greek enkomion "song in honor of a conqueror", the neuter of enkomios "related to a victory celebration", a derivation based on en "in" + komos "Bacchic celebration". (Today let us all sing the praises of M. Henri Day for suggesting this extremely Good Word.)
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