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Pronunciation: pah-lee-æ-mê-rês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Advocating or involved in polyamory, multiple love relationships.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the adjective of polyamory, mentioned in the Meaning. It can also serve as a euphemism for terms like philandery and infidelity. Since it also applies to footloose and fancy free singles, it has a more positive ring to it. A polyamorous person is a polyamorist.

In Play: Casanova was perhaps the most well-known polyamorous figure in Western history. However, polyamorous life-styles, covert and overt, have been around for ages: "Are you sure you want to marry someone who spent the 70s in a hedonistic, polyamorous commune in the state of California?" For some reason, we Easterners associate polyamory more with California (remember those bumper stickers of the 70s: 'Don't Californicate my state'?)

Word History: We discussed the prefix poly- recently, so let's concentrate on the stand-alone adjective, amorous, today. English borrowed amorous from the French, who inherited it from Latin amorosus, the adjective of amor "love". This noun was derived from the verb amare "to love", which etymologists presume came from a metathesized variant of mama, i.e. amma. You can see it also in Latin amicus "friend", which is still alive today in Portuguese and Spanish amigo, Italian amico, and French ami, not to mention the English borrowing, amicable.

Dr. Goodword,

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