Printable Version
Pronunciation: græn-dil-ê-kwins Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: 1. Extravagance with the intention to impress, grandiosity, lavishness. 2. Pomposity, bombast, high-flown exaggeration in style, pretentiousness.

Notes: Today we have the noun from the adjective grandiloquent. In terms of the sound of this word, we simply add the common suffix -s, [grændilêkwent-s]. However, we must spell it differently. Grandiloquy is a rarely used synonym of the noun, and grandiloquous, such a synonym of the adjective.

In Play: Although this word clearly started out its life referring only to speech, its meaning has broadened over the years: "Maude Lynn Dresser gives absolutely grandiloquent Christmas dinners." Of course, it may still be used in its original sense: "The president's speeches are not just eloquent, but grandiloquence itself."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on the Latin word grandiloquus "grand speking" (whence grandiloquous) influenced in English by eloquence. The Latin word comprises grandis "large, great" + loqui "to speak" + a Latin suffix. No one knows where Latin grandis came from nor why it replaced magnus for the meaning "large, great". It just did. Loqui apparently was inherited from Proto-Indo-European tolkw- "speak, talk". Apparently, the O and L metathesized (traded places), so that Latin inherited tlokw-. Since Latin did not permit the sound group TL, the T disappeared, resulting in loqui. The Slavic languages did not get the metathesized form, so we find tolk "sense, rumor, talk" in Russian. English talk may have derived from the same source. (Sue Gold of Westtown School suggested we explain today's rather eloquent Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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