Printable Version
Pronunciation: gahr-dên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A plot of land devoted to the cultivation of a variety of flowers and/or vegetables. 2. Such a plot devoted to the cultivation of only one variety: a flower garden, a vegetable garden, a rose garden.

Notes: Several dictionaries claim that the plot must be enclosed. That sense is correct if we consider a lawn an enclosure. However, my gardens, like many of my neighbors', lie around my home unobstructed by fencing. This noun may be used as a verb 'as is', that is, to garden. From this verb we have a gerund, gardening, which may be used as a noun or adjective, plus a personal noun, gardener.

In Play: Did you ever have this problem in your garden? "The foxgloves in my garden don't fit the foxes in the neighborhood." Here is an experience I'll bet many of you enjoy: "April Day loves to sit in her garden with a glass of wine on a warm spring day and watch the last remnants of the sun disappear behind the horizon." I hope you all see our website as a garden of words.

Word History: The reason today's Good Word is associated with enclosures is that French reduced the Late Latin phrase hortus gardinus "enclosed garden" to gardin, at which point Middle English borrowed it. (Today, gardin is jardin in French.) Latin borrowed gardinus from a Germanic language; its normal derivation from the PIE root was hortus, from which horticulture derives. English already had the Germanic version of the Proto-Indo-European ancestor of gardinus in geard "enclosure", which went on to become yard. The Russian word gorod "city" came from the same root back in the days when cities had high walls. We see an earlier version of the word in the names of former Soviet cities: Leningrad, Stalingrad, Volgograd. (Let's all wish Christy Nichols gardens of happiness for her suggestion of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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