Printable Version
Pronunciation: fe-kênd, fee-kênd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Fertile, capable of producing offspring. 2. Fruitful, intellectually productive, capable of producing new ideas.

Notes: Today's word is a very popular and productive one. It comes with a noun, fecundity, but also with a derived verb, fecundate. We might fecundate an infertile woman or the souls of those we encounter. This verb offers an adjective, fecundable, which in turn provides yet another noun, fecundability, the ability to make fecund or to conceive.

In Play: Today's Good Word is most often used in reference to the fertility of women and female animals: "Randy Farmer hauled his sow over to his neighbor's boar several times for breeding before deciding that his sow simply was not fecund." (Both animals became moody when Randy halted the trips.) However, it is also often used in reference to abstract birth: "And just whose fecund mind came up with the idea that our company should develop an ejector seat for helicopters?"

Word History: English "acquired" this word from Middle French fécond. French inherited it legitimately from Latin fecundus "fruitful, fertile, productive". The Latin word suggests that the root of this word, fe, would have come from the well-known Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root dhe(i)- "to suckle". Fe- also appears in femina "woman" and felix "happy", so they are probably also related to today's word. We find evidence of the PIE root in Sanskrit dhayati "sucks" and dhayah "nourishing", Greek thele "breast" and thelys "female, fruitful", and Russian deti "children". (Today we thank the fecund mind of M. Safiri, which suggested today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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