Printable Version
Pronunciation: ho-di-êr-nêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. (Rare) Related to today (only), this day (only). 2. (Rare) Just for one day.

Notes: This is a rare word hardly ever used outside grammar, e.g. 'hodiernal tense', referring to an event occurring only today. If there were a noun, it would be hodiernality, like most adjectives ending on -al. This word comes with a partner, hesternal, meaning "related to yesterday (only)".

In Play: Mwera, a language spoken in Tanzania, has a hodiernal tense and Mwotlap, an Oceanic language spoken on the Pacific Island of Vanuatu, has a hodiernal future tense. If you ever need a rare word that means "today's", you might try this: "I read in the hodiernal newspaper that you've been promoted to Vice President of Union Busting at your company."

Word History: Today's Good Word was created from Latin hodiernus "of today, today's", the adjective for hodie "today", a reduction of the phrase hoc "this" + dies "day". We find the descendants of this Latin word in all Romance languages, including Spanish hoy, Portuguese hoje, Italian oggi, and French aujourd'hui, literally, "in the day of today"—all meaning "today". Latin inherited dies from Proto-Indo-European dyew- "to shine". We find dyew- in many words beyond dies: Latin deus "god" (today in French dieu), Welsh diw and Breton deiz "day", English day, Lithuanian dievas "god", Russian den' "day", and Polish dzień "day". We know the original meaning was "shine" because its oldest forms, the Sanskrit word dideti with a reduplicated prefix meant "shines", and dyauh meant "heaven". (Now a round of e-applause for Curtis Simple for discovering today's rare gem of a Good Word and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!