Printable Version
Pronunciation: im-bri-fê-rês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Rainy, showery, rain-bearing, auguring rain.

Notes: Today's Good Word is too beautiful to allow it to escape the English language, yet it has become as rare as it is lovely. Few dictionaries list it any more and even the Oxford English Dictionary carries no related words, such as the noun imbriferousness, or the adverb imbriferously.

In Play: Let's say you want to pay someone back for a small slight but don't want to get caught at it. If they ask you about the weather, tell them that the forecast says it will be an imbriferous day. Chances are they will be too proud to ask you what it means but if they get drenched, you can say, "I told you so!" But jokes aside, please allow the sheer beauty of this little lexical recluse to entice you into an occasional metaphor: "He found her warm voice and imbriferous eyes formed a safe haven for him away from the searing glare of the world outside."

Word History: Today's lovely Good Word is based on a Latin compound, imbrifer "rain-bearing, rain-bringing" made up of imber "rain, rainstorm" + fer(re) "to carry, bear". Not much is known about the origins of imber, but ferre comes from the same root as Sanskrit bhar- "carry", bharas "burden", Greek phero, Gothic bairo—all meaning "to bear". English bear and Scots bairn "child" (that which is borne) go back to the same root. (Let us thank the Brazilian Dude of the Alpha Agora, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, for finding this fetching lexical dandy—in imbriferous Brazil.)

Dr. Goodword,

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