Printable Version
Pronunciation: lawnch Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To hurl, thrust, or propel into motion, as to launch a rocket. 2. To put a boat or ship in the water for the first time. 3. To initiate, start, begin, to give a start to, to commence a project, as to launch a new website or a new word-based company like The Lexiteria, launched 10 years ago on December 14, 2004.

Notes: Today's word may be used as a noun or a verb. An act of launching is a launch, as the launch of the Alpha Dictionary site and the Good Word series back in 2004. We hope that you are enjoying it now and will continue to enjoy it as it grows and offers more and more information about words and language.

In Play: We most often identify today's Good Word with rocketry: "Little Rodney was genuinely startled when the rocket he launched knocked his grandpa's panama off." It is also used to indicate the vigorous beginning of almost anything: "Don't let old Sidewinder Sam launch into one of his tirades against the government or we will never get out of here."

Word History: Today's word comes from Scotland and northern England, where effect underwent aphesis, the dropping of the initial unaccented vowel that resulted in 'feck. English effect is only a slightly modified version of Latin effectum "effect". The Latin word is the neuter past participle of the verb efficere "to work out, bring about, cause" used as a noun. This word comprises ex "out (of)" + the combining form of facere "to make, to do". Facere came from the PIE verb dhe-/dho- "to set, put", that also produced English do and deed. English fashion came from the same source by a more circuitous route. In Middle English this word was spelled facioun, borrowed from Old French façon "appearance, manner". Old French refashioned its word from factus, the past participle of Latin facere. Yet another example of English pirating different words from other languages at different points in the same word's historical development. (Christ Stewart, our long-time feckful friend, is due our gratitude for suggesting today's effective Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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