Printable Version
Pronunciation: o-rek-sê-jen-ik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Stimulating the appetite, causing a desire for food.

Notes: Today's adjective supports an adverb, orexigenically, and a very rare noun, orexigenesis. One of its components, orexis, is also the medical term for appetite. Now, the negative prefix in Greek, corresponding to English un-, is a(n)-. The [n] appears only before vowels, like the [n] in English a/an. So, anorexic, built on the same word, orexis, means "having no appetite".

In Play: Here is the obvious use of today's word: "Dot Matrix put together a very orexigenic dinner in less than an hour." However, to the extent we can hunger for things other than food, I see no reason why we could not adapt this word for those situations: "I want a series of orexigenic ads that build the viewer's appetite for a new car—our car."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a fake Greek compound put together by a clever scientist at the beginning of the 20th century from orexis "yearning, desire" + genikos "related to the origin or cause". Orexis is a noun from the verb oregein "to stretch, reach for, desire". The root is related to Latin regio "line, direction" and regula "straight rod", from which our word for the measuring rod called the (straight) rule comes. The concept of being straight and true (right), was long associated with the other kind of ruler, too, Latin rex, regis "king", as in our regal. But then this kind of ruler also has a long reach.

Dr. Goodword,

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