Printable Version
Pronunciation: je-rê-mai-êd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: An extended lamentation. a long, drawn-out complaining tirade, often accompanied by a prophecy or insinuation of imminent doom.

Notes: One could write a jeremiad about this word itself, a poor lexical orphan without siblings or offspring, whose parentage lies far away in the Middle East. However, the Word History will show its lineage to be heavenly and presents no cause for lament.

In Play: Today's heavenly word works even in down-to-earth situations: "Every time I ask you to clean the garage, all I hear is a jeremiad about how much easier your sister's chores are than yours!" However, the word itself may be more at home in conversations on more elevated topics: "I grow a bit weary of the jeremiads against progress and modernity that constitute the core of contemporary literature."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Jeremiah + -ad (as in Iliad) in reference to the lamentations of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Jeremiah comes from Late Latin Ieremias borrowed from Hebrew yirmyahu "Yahweh has established", based on yirm "he has raised" + yah(u), a shortening of Yahweh. Yirm is an old form of ram "to establish, raise up", based on the root *rmy. Yahweh "God, The Lord" is based on the root *ywh, which meant "to be or become", perhaps originally meaning "he who brings into being". Shortenings of Yahweh occur in many Hebrew names: Matthew is from mattayyah "gift of Yahweh", and Elijah, from Hebrew oeliyahu "my God (is) Yahweh". John, Jean, Johann, Giovanni, and Ivan are all from yohanan "Yahweh has been gracious". Jesus in Hebrew is yeshua, a shortening of yehoshua "Joshua", also akin to Hosea, the Biblical king. (Now an gracious e-ovation for Barbara Kelly for spotting today's somber yet clever Good Word in her local newspaper and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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