Printable Version
Pronunciation: pik-sê-layt-id Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Whimsical, slightly eccentric, a touch touched in the head or under the influence of pixie dust. 2. (Recent slang) Intoxicated, tipsy.

Notes: We have to be careful not to confuse today's word with pixelated, spelled with an E. This word comes from a verb pixelate, meaning to digitize a photograph, converting it to pixels, the tiny, tiny square dots in a digital picture. Our word comes with a noun, pixilation, suggesting that it is derived from a verb but, as the History will show, there is no such verb.

In Play: Today's Good Word is a light-hearted inoffensive way to say that someone is a little crazy: "Maude Lynn Dresser must be pixilated to think that all she needs to do to get a promotion is buy a more modern wardrobe." I can't think of a milder way to say "crazy" in English: "Any woman would have to be purely pixilated to go out with that horrible Phil Anders!"

Word History: Today's Good Word is a 'Latinized' derivation form of the purely English word pixie, a small mischievous sprite from folklore. Pixilated appears to be a past participle of a verb pixilate, but no evidence of the verb can be found. The adjective was probably derived on the model of forest : forested but with the Latinish lat inserted as a bit of, well, pixieish fun. Pixie itself seems to be related to the name of two other elfin creatures: Puck, the mischievous sprite of English folklore, and pooka, the similar sprite of Irish folklore, famous for its role in the play Harvey. Although we have no recorded evidence of pucksie or pooksie, the semantics and pronunciations are close enough to raise strong, justified suspicion that they are related. (Margie Sved must be sprinkled with lexical pixie dust to have thought of and suggested today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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