Podcast loquacious

Printable Version
Pronunciation: lo-kway-shês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Very talkative, chatty, using lots of words, verbose.

Notes: The noun from today's word is loquacity [lo-qwæ-sê-ti] and the adverb loquaciously. A related adjective is loquent "talking, speaking" that turns up mostly in technical writing as in, "Are chimpanzees a loquent species?" This adjective yields a noun, loquency "talk, the ability to speak". The synonym of today's word, talkative, is an accepted lexical violation in that it is made up of a native stem, talk, plus a Latin suffix -ative, two supposedly incompatible constituents. But perhaps I am waxing loquacious myself and should stop here to leave room for a few other comments on this interesting word.

In Play: Today's word is the antonym of an earlier Good Word, reticent "taciturn, untalkative": "Molly was such a reticent child, but since starting school she has become positively loquacious." Loquacity can be fun and entertaining or it can get in the way: "We want to keep today's meeting short, so I may interrupt anyone who becomes too loquacious."

Word History: Today's Good Word goes back to a Latin word with a similar meaning, loquax (loquac-s) from loqui "to speak". It derives from the Proto-Indo-European root tolkw- "to speak", which apparently metathesized to tlokw-. That placed the [t] in an untenable position (Latin didn't allow the consonant cluster [tl]), so it was dropped. Eloquent and elocution come from eloqui "to speak out" a reduction of ex "out (of)" + loqui "to speak". In Russian we find the PIE root unmetathesized in tolk "sense", whose plural is, oddly, tolki "talk, rumors". Although it looks very much like English talk, the [t] in this stem would have become [th] in English, as the contrast Latin pater - English father show. Talk probably comes from an original word meaning "count", as does Dutch taal "language". (We are always happy when the talkative Katy Brezger talks to us into running a wonderful word like today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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