• gasconade •
gæs-kê-nayd • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: An instance of extravagant boasting or bravado, bluster; a great exaggeration of the facts.
Notes: Today's Good Word was derived from gascon "a braggart", a commonization of Gascon "someone from Gascony". This word bred two nouns, gasconade "an instance of bravado" and gasconism "tendency to boast or exaggerate".
In Play: Texans have a reputation for gasconism: "Ask a Texan like Hugh Jeego about Texas and you can expect a gasconade about people mistaking Texas cucumbers for watermelons and mosquitoes for ugly humming birds." Grandparents are known for their gasconades about their grandchildren: "Don't ask Ida Claire about her grandchildren unless you're prepared for a gasconade that that could go on for hours."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a commonization of Gascon, a native of Gascony, a region in south-west France. The Gascons had a reputation for greatly exaggerating the quality and quantity of things Gasconian, much like the reputation of Texans in the US. The Romans called this area Vasconia or Wasconia, which suggests it may come from a Basque root eusk- "Basque". Now, since French had no [w] sound, it would have been replaced by the nearest sound in French, GU [gw], in borrowed words. That is how ward became guard when French borrowed the word from English. (Then English borrowed it back with a different meaning.) Ultimately, the U [w] stopped being pronounced in words beginning in GU. (It would not be a gasconade to say today's Good Word was another excellent one suggested by Gene Dubois, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.)
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