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Pronunciation: gro-di Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Squalid, dirty, sloppy. 2. Disgusting, revolting, repulsive.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a child of the 60s. It was spelled groaty back then, but since Ts between vowels are pronounced [d] in the US, the spelling quickly reverted to grody. The adverb is the expectable grodily and the noun, grodiness. It may be compared as grodier and grodiest.

In Play: The first sense of grody is probably how it is most often used: "When Winston worked the stables, he would get his work clothes grody to the max." We see today's word in the sense of "repulsive" in a song made famous by Frank Zappa's daughter: "According to the song, 'Valley Girl', Moon Unit Zappa's podiatrist found her toenails grody."

Word History: Most etymologists consider grody a slang variant of grotty from grot, an abbreviation of grotesqeue. It is more likely that it is the natural development of Old English grotig "earthy", which was groti "muddy, slimy" by Middle English. Since these two origins are not mutually exclusive, perhaps both worked together to give us what we have today. If the origin was grotesque, it came from a word borrowed by French from Italian grottesco "related to a grotto, cave". Italian grotto in Old Italian was cropto, a descendant of Latin crypta "vault, cavern", borrowed from Greek krypte "vault, hiding place". The Greek word comes from the same source as Russian krysha "roof" and skryt' "hide".

Dr. Goodword,

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