Printable Version
Pronunciation: ing-kê-mo-di-ês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: No, today's Good Word does not refer to a restroom lacking its central fixture. Rather, it means: 1. Inconvenient, troublesome, annoying. 2. Uncomfortably small, lacking sufficient space.

Notes: Incommodious is heard more often than commodious, but there is a positive mate for this negative adjective. Commodious means, as expected, "roomy, spacious", but can also be used to mean "convenient", as 'a commodious location for a sports fan near the stadium'. The noun incommodity still hangs around dictionaries, but is less called upon these days than incommodiousness as the noun for today's word. Incommodiously works fine as its adverb.

In Play: Size is the first consideration for the use of today's Good Word: "Nick Nack found himself assigned a most incommodious office that had previously been a mop closet." However, convenience can also determine its proper usage: "The only apartment Bud Light could find was incommodiously located five miles from the nearest bar."

Word History: Today's word comes from Latin in- "not" + commodus "suitable, fit, properly measured". The main constituent in this word comprises com- "with" + modus "measure". We see the root mod- in other borrowings from Latin, such as modicum, modify, and mode. As always, the root mod- goes back to a root with a variant med-, meaning the same thing. The E-variant of this root (med-) turns up in Old English metan "to measure out", which survived until today in the verb mete out. In Latin this variant went into the making of mederi "to heal, cure" at the base of medicine and medical. Apparently the original medics were seen as people who meted out restorative herbs, drafts, and compounds.

Dr. Goodword,

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