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listicle

Printable Version
Pronunciation: li-sti-cêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: An article structured around a thematic list.

Notes: Today's Good Word has been around only since 2007, but it has found its way into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, so it is no longer a nonce word. No one yet has cast listiculate as a verb meaning "to write a listicle".

In Play: The Web has several links to listicles like "8 Tips on How to Write a Great Listicle." Listicles are often clickbait, especially those found on news websites.

Word History: It is a blend of list and article. In Middle English it was liste "border, strip, stripe", borrowed from Old French or Italian lista, both with the same meaning. French and Italian borrowed their words from an ancient Germanic language, such as Old High German lista or Old Norse lista. Only the Germanic languages kept the PIE word, leizd-/loizd- "border, band. So, our word list originally referred to something long and narrow. Article comes from PIE ar- "fit together". The same word suffixed with -m produced English arm. In Latin the same word became artus "joint" with a diminutive articulus "small joint". Since the implication of joints is that they fit together, it became a metaphor for printed articles, which fit together in a book, magazine, or newspaper. (Our gratitude is due, again, to our long-time friend William Hupy for suggesting we catch up with the crowd and run today's new Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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