• exuberant •
eg-zu-bêr-ênt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Growing thickly, profuse, luxuriant, lavish, superabundant. 2. Overenthusiastic, highly excited and energetic.
Notes: True to its meaning, today's Good Word belongs to an exuberant family of derivations. The adverb, of course, is exuberantly and the noun, exuberance. The patriarch of the family is the verb exuberate "to grow lavishly or be excited" as 'to exuberate in the coming marriage of her daughter'. It makes other derivations, such as exuberation, possible.
In Play: We shouldn't leave the original meaning of this word behind: "Maxwell will talk about his exuberant hair but to me it is just thick and unkempt." The emotional type of exuberance might better be restrained: "Marian Kine was perhaps too exuberant over the invitation to dinner from Phil Anders."
Word History: Today's word originated in Latin exuberan(t)s "overabundant", the present participle of exuberare "to be overabundant, plentiful, highly fertile". This verb was constructed from the preposition-prefix ex "out of, beyond" + uberare "to be fruitful", a verb derived from uber "udder". This noun came from a Proto-Indo-European root udhr- found with little change in many Indo-European languages. While the [dh] ([d] with a puff of breath) often went to [b] in Latin, it generally appears in other languages as [d] or [t], so we find English udder, German Euter, Greek outhar, and Sanskrit udhar. (Let us all now exuberantly commemorate our long-standing friend, Susan Lister, who suggested today's exciting Good Word before she passed away.)
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