Printable Version
Pronunciation: fe-ching Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Pretty, attractive, alluring, lovely.

Notes: Today's Good Word is itself a such a pretty word itself, it was included in The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English. It started out as a participle of a metaphorical use of fetch "(go and) get" that wandered a bit off course to become an abandoned orphan (see Word History).

In Play: I think fetching is a prettier word than pretty, although the meanings of the two words are about the same: "Barbie Dahl looked quite fetching in her new dress from Letticia Romane's fashion boutique." It applies as well to things other than people, too: "I saw Joy Ryder in a fetching little red sports convertible yesterday. Is it hers?"

Word History: The verb fetch for centuries meant "draw", as 'to fetch a tear' or 'a bell fetched us into the drawing room'. At that point, following the model of attractive from Latin attrahere "to draw to", fetching was born. Fetch in Middle English was fecchen, from Old English feccan "to bring, take". Feccan apparently was a variant of fetian "bring back, obtain", which comes from PIE pod-/ped- "to walk, a foot". This word also ended up in English as foot and, via Latin, as pedal and pedestrian. The O-variant turned up in Russian as pod "under, below". Greek turned it into pous, podos "foot", as in oktopous, borrowed by Latin as octopus, the eight-legged cephalopod. Latin came up with its own numerical compound with this word, tripus, tripodes "three-legged stool", which English borrowed as tripod. (Let's have a show of gratitude for William Hupy, who has recommended many Good Words, but none so fetching as today's.)

Dr. Goodword,

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