Printable Version
Pronunciation: e-pi-ah-lê-tri Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: The worship of words.

Notes: Though no one apparently has used them so far, the adjective [i]epolatrous[/i] and personal noun [i]epeolatrist[/i] are out there begging to be used. It is often misspelled epiolatry, so watch out.

In Play: I am a confessed epeolatrist. I fell in love with words in high school, writing poetry, then turned to science (linguistic morphology) in college to see what it could tell me about them. Epeolatry has been called a disease among the few instances it has been used, referring to a prolix author. The dictionary is the Bible of epeolatry. Whenever I look up a word, I always read the whole page plus the facing one.

Word History: Today's Good Word was introduced to English by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., father of the famous Supreme Court Judge, in his 1860 book Professor at the Breakfast Table. Holmes created this word by combining Ancient Greek epos "word, song, tale" + Late Latin latria, borrowed Greek latreía "service; worship". The adjective of epos is epikos, from which English got its word epic. Epos was a Greek tailoring of Proto-Indo-European wekw- "to speak", which also went into the making of Latin vox "voice" and vocare "to call", The latter produced vocatio(n) "calling", borrowed by English as vocation. The combining form -latry appears in many English borrowings from Greek, including idolatry, astrolatry, and zoolatry. (Now we must thank the mysterious and potentially epeolatrous Grogie of the Alpha Agora for scrupulously scouring the peripheries of the English lexicon to discover terms like today's extremely Good Word before they get away from us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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