Printable Version
Pronunciation: mê-li-mi-nês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Massive, huge, momentous, having a great impact and of great importance. 2. Laboriously created, made with the greatest of effort and endeavor—like our Good Word series.

Notes: Today's rather rare word is the adjective from molimen "great effort", taken very carefully from Latin (see Word History). You may use it as an adverb if you add the usual suffix -ly. Since this adjective is derived from a noun, there is no need to create one with -ness or -ity (moliminosity). Most of us couldn't pronounce it, anyway.

In Play: The meaning of today's Good Word oscillates depending on whether the focus is on the activity of producing something or the thing produced. If it is the process, the adverb is usually more suitable: "Derek struggled moliminously for 53 years counting all the words in English before giving up for the lack of a definition of the word word." The adjective usually fits the product better: "Rhoda Book's moliminous encyclopedia of the universe dwarfs the Wikipedia."

Word History: The noun underlying today's word, molimen "great exertion, effort", was traced letter-for-letter from the Latin noun. The Latin noun was derived from a shorter one, moles "large mass, pile, heap", which probably started out as mogh-les from Proto-Indo-European mogh-/megh- "great, large". This root also underlies English much and that old Scottish standby, mickle. If so, the same root also turns up in Sanskrit maha "great", which we see in maharaja "great king" and mahatma "great one", as in Mahatma Gandhi. (Speaking of great, this was a great if not moliminous word itself, and we thank Jeremy Busch for suggesting it.)

Dr. Goodword,

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