Printable Version
Pronunciation: fUl-jênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Shining brightly, radiant, glittering. 2. Resplendent, glorious, spectacular, refulgent. 3. (Heraldry; postmodifier) Having rays, as 'a star refulgent with eight rays on a field of red'.

Notes: The noun accompanying this adjective is fulgency, only rarely fulgence, but the latter remains a possibility. The adverb, of course, is fulgently. We find prefixed forms like refulgent "shining brilliantly" and the even rarer interfulgent "shining between or among", as 'an interfulgent wit among the drab pub crowd'.

In Play: This word may be used literally: "Frieda Fish came into the beach house as red as a lobster and with oyster eyes from the fulgent midday sun." It may also be used figuratively: "Barry Moore had a rich and fulgent voice that could reach the last row in any theater."

Word History: Today's Good Word goes immediately back to Latin fulgen(t)s "shining, bright, dazzling", the present participle of fulgere "to shine". Latin inherited the root of this word from PIE bhleg- "to shine, flash", a variant of bhel- "to shine, flash, burn". The latter turns up in many words English borrowed directly from Latin or via French beginning in FL: flame, flambé, flagrant, and flamboyant. This root emerged in the Slavic languages like Russian as belyi, Polish biały, Czech bílý, and Serbian as beo, bela "white". In the Germanic languages it resulted in many words beginning on BL, like English blanch, blank, blind and blond. (The mysterious Grogie of the Alpha Agora recommended I do interfulgent. I hope he will forgive me for not doing so, for I found today's less rare Good Word missing from our dictionary.)

Dr. Goodword,

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