• jocund •
jo-kênd • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Cheerful, pleasant.
Notes: The trick in using today's word is not to confuse it with jocose or jocular. A jocose remark is a joke, but a jocund comment is simply a light-hearted, cheerful one. Neither of these two should be confused with jocular "joking, kidding", even though this meaning is very close to that of jocose. If they all sound like joke to you, today's Word History will explain why. You may also pronounce this word [jah-kênd].
In Play: Remember, jocundity is not humor: "Jocund humor is a much better mood enhancer than dark or sick humor any day of the week." Jocose is the word that implies humor: "Mary Dagai always starts the conversation with a jocose anecdote to set a jocund tone." There are many ways to be jocund without being jocular: " Frank Sanbeens is not a jocular person, but he has a naturally jocund personality that everyone likes."
Word History: Today's upbeat Good Word goes back to Latin jocundus "pleasant, agreeable", a variant of the earlier form jucundus, an adjective from the verb juvare "to help, please". The same root underlies Latin jocus "joke, jest." Jocundus also remains in Portuguese and Spanish as jocundo and Italian as giocondo, the feminine of which is the title of the famous opera by Ponchielli, La Gioconda "The Happy Girl". Latin also had a verb joculari "to joke, jest" which became Old French jogleor "jester, jokester" (Modern French jongleur) which English borrowed and polished into juggler. (We very seriously thank the jocund Chris Berry for suggesting today's jocular Good Word.)
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