Printable Version
Pronunciation: fêr-vid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Extremely hot. 2. Extremely passionate, intensely emotional.

Notes: Today's Good Word belongs to a set of fraternal twins meaning essentially the same thing: fervid and fervent. The noun serving both these adjectives is fervor (or British fervour), though the more mundane fervidness has crept into some dictionaries. The adverb is the expected fervidly.

In Play: This word is most often used in its figurative sense, referring to emotion: "Despite the fervid support of Fitbit wearers, the fate of the company is far from clear." The original sense is rarely used today, but it is still available: "The economy of the South burgeoned with the invention of air conditioning, which defeated the fervid summers for investors."

Word History: Today's word was borrowed from Latin fervidus "burning; vehement" from fervere "to boil, glow". Since we have seen other words beginning with an F that Latin converted from Proto-Indo-European BH, we are not surprised to discover that this root comes from PIE bhreu- "boil, heat, burn". That explains why the English words burn, brew, broil and bread could arise from the same source. Even the borrowings from German bratwurst and sauerbraten are based on the German word brat "roast". French braise, which English borrowed with the same meaning, also shares the same source. (Let's now thank William Hupy, one of our most fervid contributors, for recommending today's very Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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