Printable Version
Pronunciation: pêr-fêr-vid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Extremely fervid, very passionate, most ardent.

Notes: Perfervid is one of those words, like eternal/sempiternal, fulgent/refulgent, splendent/resplendent, mixture/admixture, whose prefixes are intensifiers that only make the words stand out emphatically. The noun is either the clunky perfervidness or perfervidity, which slips more easily over the tongue.

In Play: We may say either very fervid or simply perfervid: "Rosco repulses his friends not so much by his fervid nationalism as his perfervid polemic expressing it." Just remember perfervid is a notch above fervid: "Rachel found herself trapped at a cocktail party with a normal-looking guy who suddenly started a perfervid racist diatribe."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin perfervidus, based on per "thoroughly, through and through" + fervidus "glowing, burning; vehement". Fervidus is an adjective derived from fervere "to boil, glow", the present participle of which is ferven(t)s "boiling hot, glowing", whence English fervent. Latin created its word out of PIE bhreu-/bhrou- "to boil, bubble, burn", source also of English brew, bourn "bubbling spring", and burn. The brat- in German Bratwurst and Sauerbraten share the same point of origin. Brazil is a shortning of Terra do Brasil "Land of Brazil", a reference to brazilwood, a major resource in the early years of the country. Brasil comes from Old Spanish brasil from brasa "hot coals", another result of PIE bhreu-/bhrou-. (Let's now give George Kovac, perfervid logophile that he is, a round of applause for suggesting today's ever so fascinating Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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