• laconic •
lê-kah-nik • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Terse, succinct, using or composed of few words.
Notes: Today's word refers to a quality many of us are desperately longing for after the recent political campaigns in the US. Well, we can at least talk about the word. Laconical is now obsolete, but we still must use it to create the adverb: laconically. The noun for this adjective is laconism.
In Play: The antonym of today's Good Word is another recent Good Word, garrulous: "Robin Banks is a very garrulous guy, but if you ask him how he got his start in life he becomes laconic very quickly." This word applies to the written as well as the spoken word: "No one knows exactly what medical emergency has arisen in New Monia, Pennsylvania, because the press releases have been so laconic."
Word History: The Greek original of today's Good Word is lakonikos "Laconian, Lacedæmonian", an eponym of Lakon "person from Laconia." Laconia (Greek Lacedaemon) was a district in southern Greece, whose capital in ancient times was Sparta. Inhabitants were famous for the brevity of their speech as a result of their response to a threatening note from Philip of Macedon: "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground." The response from Spartan officials was the epitome of laconism: "If." (We will not be at all laconic in our expression of gratitude to Mark Bailey for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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