Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-sê-gree-vi-ês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Eliciting irritation or disgust. 2. Anything else you want it to mean.

Notes: Today's Good Word is offered as an April Fool's joke—simply, not deceptively. This word is an orphan because it has no parents, but since it has a recognizable suffix (-ous) some have used it adverbially (insegreviously), but no other self-respecting English suffix or prefix will touch it. No self-respecting dictionary allows it access; it appears only in the Urban Dictionary.

In Play: This word has rarely been used and the usages are always humorous: "Your honor, it was just an insegrevious situation for which I have no excuse." The meaning of this word is most affected by the manner in which it's spoken, other words with which it occurs, facial expressions, etc.: "Catwoman, I find you to be odious, abhorrent, and insegrevious."

Word History: This nonsense word has a hazy history. Today's contributor first heard this word in Boston in 1969, when she met some students who had an assignment to invent a meaningless word using known principles. The grade was based on usage: the first one to appear in a real publication, not connected to the school, was the winner. Insegrevious was their baby and it had appeared in the Boston Globe. It was popularized by Gary Owens on his KPMC radio show in Los Angeles. Owens became a character and writer for the Rowan and Martin TV show "Laugh-in" in 1968, where he used it occasionally. It has no history, excepting only the suffix -ous, which is the French version of Latin -osus, (Now let's thank newcomer Wendie Howland for suggesting today's laughable Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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