Printable Version
Pronunciation: lim-pid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Clear and bright, sparklingly transparent, when speaking of liquids. 2. Crystal clear or nearly so, easily understandable, or transparent, when speaking of writing style.

Notes: At heart, this word refers to clear pools of liquid. However, following the footsteps of words like lucid and luculent, its meaning has migrated to clarity in general, especially as relates to writing style. We have choices for a noun, either limpidity or, if that sounds too near stupidity for your tastes, we may use the old stand-by limpidness. We have but one adverb: limpidly.

In Play: Today's Good Word is most at home reflecting the character of water: "The limpid apathetic woodland stream mirrored the fawn's composure in its own." However, it is comfortable with any noun referring to clear objects: "Carrie Oakey's limpid voice adds to the beauty of any song."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin limpidus "clear, bright," a word related to lympha "clear water, stream", the source of our own lymph, the clear liquid produced by lymph nodes. It shares a source with Greek lampein "to shine" and lampas "torch", which Latin borrowed and transmitted to French as lampe, a word that proved to be too much a temptation for English, so we chopped off the final E and borrowed it. No one has any idea where the original root came from. (Let's hope this is a perfectly limpid reflection of our gratitude to Katy Brezger, a Senior Lexiterian in the Alpha Agora, who suggested we explore today's word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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