Printable Version
Pronunciation: ê-pin-yæs-três Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Rigidly opinionated, tightly controlled by one's own opinions

Notes: It is quite possible that this word was never uttered since none of the few dictionaries that list it gives a pronunciation. The pronunciation above is, therefore, absolutely unique speculation. It comes with a remarkable family. An opiniaster is rigidly opinionated person and opiniastry has been suggested as an abstract noun.

In Play: Should you choose to use this word, it fits sentences like this: "The current impasse in US politics is ultimately brought on by opiniastrous blocks of voters." In other words, opiniasters who vote. Be careful whom you call opiniastrous: "Noam Knott believes the world is flat and is so opiniastrous that there is no point in trying to persuade him otherwise."

Word History: y immediate impression was that this word was a blend of opinion + disastrous. The spelling and the meaning(s) work for this origin. But this word was used only once in the history of English. It was used by John Milton in 1645 in a work ("divorce tract") called Colaterion. Other members of the same family have been used a few more times but rarely. This word was borrowed with its family from Old French opiniastre (Modern French opiniâtre), to which Milton simply added the English suffix -ous. Opinion was snatched from French, too, a word originating in Latin opinio(n) "opinion, conjecture", from stem of opinari "to think, opine", itself built on PIE op- "to choose", source also of Latin optio(n) "choice" and adoptio(n) "choice to add", and ancient Greek epiopsomai "will choose". Little evidence beyond this is found in IE languages. Other words with the derogatory suffix -aster are poetaster, criticaster, and theologaster. (I couldn't resist the temptation to publish today's extremely arcane Good Word simply because it rises to the level of those of the mysterious Grogie's contributions. Lew Jury discovered and suggested it.)

Dr. Goodword,

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