Printable Version
Pronunciation: i-læps Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive, Noun

Meaning: 1. [Verb] To glide or flow into. 2. [Noun] The act of gliding, slipping, or flowing into.

Notes: This Good Word is a rarity today, but rarities are to be treasured, savored, especially those of this word's beauty. Even though it is rare, it belongs to a large and robust family with two adjectives, illapsive and illapsable, both of which offer adverbs on -ly. The antonym of this word is elapse "to slip, flow, or glide away", as time is wont to do.

In Play: As elapse means to flow away, today's word means to flow into: "We laid out our picnic where the susurrous little creek illapsed happily into the river." Why is this word disappearing when we are slipping into things all the time? "Let me illapse into something more comfortable, and we can continue our conversation about hard disk circuits." Always resist any illapse of vengefulness or spite in your emotional reactions.

Word History: This word comes from Latin illapsus, the past participle of illabi "to fall, slip, or flow into", based on in "in(to)" + labi "to fall, slip". The same stem can be seen in English lapse, elapse, collapse, and others. The Latin word is also apparently related to labor, which may have originally meant "totter or fall under a burden" since the verb labare means "to sway, totter". The original root, lob-/leb- seems to have meant "hang loose, flap", given its relation to Latin labium "lip", English lip, and possibly even (ear) lobe. Swedish lapp "patch" and German Lappen "rag, cloth" support this interpretation.

Dr. Goodword,

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