Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-têr-lahrd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Cookery) To mix with alternating layers of fat or to insert strips of bacon or fatback into lean meat. 2. To intersperse in speech or writing, particularly unrelated or irrelevant references; to mix into, to intermingle.

Notes: The recognizable root of this word, lard, would seem to imply something best done without. But that sense of today's Good Word doesn't carry through, though the connotation is there. This word has been completely Anglicized, so the participles must do the yeoman's share of the work: interlarded serves as a passive adjective, and interlarding serves as an active adjective and noun. Someone who interlards is an interlarder.

In Play: Today's word is most closely associated with speaking and writing: "Don't you just love it when speakers interlard their addresses with scraps of French, German, and even Italian, that their audiences don't understand." It finds a cozy home in descriptions of politicians: "At the town hall meeting, the congressman interlarded his comments with various claptraps like, "Congress is broken," "The American people are resilient," and "God bless America."

Word History: In Middle English this word was interlarden "to mix with fat or bacon" from Old French entrelarder "to alternate layers of fat or bacon in lean meat before cooking". Do you remember lard? It is the rendered fat of pigs. I can recall my mother cooking with it until vegetable oil appeared. My grandfather and my uncles slaughtered their own hogs, so we got it for free. The French still interlard their pork roasts. My family also prepared lye soap from lard and used it for laundering. Lard, again, came from French lard, inherited from Latin lardum "lard, bacon". We think the Romans borrowed the word from Greek larinos "fat", derived from laros "tasty, delicious". That is as far back as we can trace it, but it spread from Latin not only to French, but to Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish as lardo.

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!