Printable Version
Pronunciation: flæm-boy-ênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Flashy, showy, resplendently florid, flowery, colorful. 2. Prone to exuberant, ostentatious or audacious display. 3. (Architecture) Having wavy lines and flame-like forms characteristic of 15th and 16th century French architecture.

Notes: Today's showy Good Word was taken from French whole, not changed a bit. It comes with an adverb, flamboyantly, and our choice of two nouns, flamboyance or, if your poem requires an additional syllable, flamboyancy.

In Play: The first sense of today's word is visually flashy: "Maude Lynn Dresser came to the party in an outfit as flamboyant as a Mummers' parade." The second sense of flamboyant refers to displayed activity: "Amanda Lynn Player requires flamboyant theatrics in her performances to overcome the poverty of her musical talent."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the unadorned present participle of French flamboyer "to blaze, to flame up", based on flambe "flame". Flambe, in turn is a reduction of flamble, derived from Latin flammula "small flame", diminutive of flamma "flame, blazing fire". Latin inherited this word from Proto-Indo-European root bhel- "to shine, flash, burn". This same root is ultimately behind French blond and English blaze. It appears today in Russian as belyi "white", as we see in the name of the all-white beluga whale. Bleach comes to us from Old English blęcan "bleach, whiten", derived from the same word that provided Modern German with bleich "pale". (Our gratitude is due today to the flamboyant Albert Skiles, who suggested this Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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