Podcast equanimity

Printable Version
Pronunciation: e-kwê-nim-i-tee or ee-kwê- Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: Steadiness and composure under pressure; unruffledness in a stressful situation.

Notes: The adjective that accompanies today's Good Word is the rather odd-sounding equanimous [ee-kw-n-ms] "even-tempered, balanced, composed", as an equanimous response to a provocative insult.

In Play: Stressful or embarrassing situations call for equanimity: "May Tripp rose from her pratfall with uncommon equanimity and continued down the hall as though nothing had happened." Whatever raises stress levels, equanimity lowers them: "Duane Pipes received the news of his wife's leaving him with an equanimity that might have saved the marriage had he applied it more while they were together."

Word History: English borrowed this word from French in the 17th century. French inherited it from Latin æquanimitas "calmness, patience, equanimity", a noun based on æquus "even, equal" + animus "mind, spirit" or anima "soul". Æquus is apparently related to Sanskrit eka "one". Animus underlies animal, a thing of spirit; it comes from the same source as Greek anemos "wind", often thought of as a spirit in bygone years. The Greek word is the root of anemone "daughter of the wind", which is now the English word for the wind-flower, Anemone nemorosa. (Today we thank Rob N. Hood for having the spirit to suggest today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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