Printable Version
Pronunciation: pe-lu-sid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Clear, transparent. 2. Extremely lucid in style or tone, clear, easily comprehensible.

Notes: There really isn't much difference between today's word and lucid. The extra syllable simply attracts attention, so I use it only when I want to emphasize the clarity of things. It comes with the same variants as lucid: an adverb, pellucidly, and a noun, pellucidity or the clunkier pellucidness.

In Play: Don't you just love picnics beside a pellucid, susurrous little stream? Pellucidity is all around us: "Rhoda Book writes best when it's raining and she can see pellucid little droplets crawling down the window panes of her study." But clarity comes in other forms: "Let me be pellucid about this: no boyfriends on motorcycles!"

Word History: Obviously pellucid and lucid are built on the same root. Lucid comes from Latin lucidus "clear, bright, shining" from lucere "to shine". Pellucid is based on Latin pellucidus "transparent" from pellucere "to shine through", made up of per "through" + lucere. The final R in per is assimilated by (becomes like) the initial L of lucere. Latin came by the root of lucere via the usual route, this time Proto-Indo-European leuk- "light, brightness", which also became Latin lux [luc-s] "light" and English light. The alternate name of Satan, Lucifer, shares the same source as these? "How?" you might well ask. Lucifer was an earlier name of Venus, the morning star. So it was composed of luc- "light" + i + fer- "bearer, carrier" from Latin ferre "to bear, carry". (Today's Good Word is another contribution by the pellucid mind of Chris Stewart, our South African friend of long standing.)

Dr. Goodword,

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