Podcast forthy

Printable Version
Pronunciation: for-dhee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Open, affable, and forthcoming in nature. 2. Forward, frank, outspoken, or presumptuous in behavior.

Notes: No, today's Good Word is not a misspelling of frothy, but a distinct adjective based on forth (see Word History). It originates in southwest England, around Devon and Cornwall, but English is spoken there, too, so we are free to use vocabulary from there. The comparative would be forthier and the superlative forthiest, while forthiness would be the noun indicating the quality distinguishing a forthy person.

In Play: Today's word is a good substitute for forthcoming when you are in a hurry and want to shorten things: "I have always found Dorian Seaman forthy on the subject of his marriage—too forthy, if anything." This word is more often used in the pejorative sense of forwardness: "The forthy waster had the cheek to ask my wife for a dance before I had the chance to."

Word History: We can trace this Good Old Word back to a form per- in Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the language from which most Indian and European languages derive. Per meant "forward, before, in front of". It underlies English for and far, with its derivatives farther and further. It is also the origin of English fore found in foreground, foremost, and before. The same PIE root became Old Iranian pairi "around", visible in pairidaeza "a wall around (a garden)". Hebrew borrowed this word as its pardess "citrus orchard". The Greeks, however, wrote so ebulliently of the lushness of Persian gardens that the word entered Greek as paradeisos "paradise", the sense it had when English borrowed it.

Dr. Goodword,

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