Printable Version
Pronunciation: li-vid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Bluish leaden gray color, the color of a bruise. 2. Furious, enraged. 3. Ashen, pallid, flushed in the face from emotion.

Notes: Do you know the connection between livid and slivovitz? Then you have a surprise coming in the Word History. Livid may be used as an adverb if accessorized with -ly (lividly) and the noun is lividity.

In Play: Good stuffThis odd little adjective refers to a shade of blue and the color of the face when furious, even though the face become red with enragement: "Phil Anders had a livid mark on his arm left by his date after she told him that she had to watch her figure and he replied, 'You eat all the cake you want; I'll watch your figure'." It is more frequently used in the sense of "furious": "Martha was livid when her husband called at 3 o'clock in the morning to tell her that he was on the way home and asked if she would warm up dinner for him."

Word History: Middle English borrowed livide from Old French. Old French inherited it from Latin lividus "bluish, the color of a bruise". Latin received the word by demise from Proto-Indo-European (s)leiê- "bluish" with a Fickle S. The S disappeared in Latin, but it was retained in the Slavic languages as sliva "plum", as in Serbian slivovica "slivovitz". It was preserved in English where it shows up in sloe "sloe plum" which is used to flavor sloe gin. Lavender is another Latinate borrowing of the same origin. (We must now thank our old friend Lew Jury for suggesting today's surprisingly Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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