Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-trig Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To pique curiosity. 2. To secretly scheme or plot, to get entangled in a complex plot or scheme.

Notes: Speakers, even dictionaries, often confuse the pronunciation of the noun intrigue with that of the verb. However, English provides a clear pattern: survey (something) but a survey, suspect (someone) but then he is a suspect, upset (a ball team) but the ball game was an upset. In each of these pairs the noun indicates the result of the action of the verb. So it is (or should be) with intrigue and intrigue.

In Play: The first sense of today's word implies simply arousing curiosity: "Dr. Goodword is always intrigued by the words suggested by the Agorans." The second sense of today's Good Word almost always involves at least one other person: "Hardy Partier intrigued with Gladys Friday to get him the promotion to vice president of personnel."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from French intriguer, which French borrowed from Italian intrigare "to plot; perplex, puzzle". That was what Latin intricare "to entangle, perplex, embarrass" was when it reached Italian. The past participle of this Latin verb is intricatus "entangled", borrowed by English for its intricate. The Latin verb comprises in- "in" + tricae "perplexities, wiles, tricks", a word of uncertain origin. English remodeled this word into its trick. We also find this root in other Latin words, like extricare "to disentangle, extricate, free". English borrowed the past participle of this word, extricatus, for its extricate. (Today's intriguingly Good Word came from our long-time friend and voluminous contributor, William Hupy.)

Dr. Goodword,

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