• logophile •
lah-gê-fail • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: Someone who loves words, a connoisseur of words.
Notes: Logophile is a word that we have neglected far too long in our Good Word series. It brings with it an entourage of related words: the adjective logophilic, the adverb logophilically, and the process noun, logophilia. We have already discussed a distant cousin, logorrhea, an ailment all too prevalent among logophiles.
In Play: Unlike 'wordies', dilettantes who just collect words, a logophile is a true connoisseur of lexical delicacies: "The Alpha Agora is the place where web-minded logophiles gather for enlightening fun with words." Of course, everyone reading this is a logophile, savoring yet another Good Word dripping with insights into our language and ourselves.
Word History: Today's Good Word is a new one, first appearing in print in the London Sunday Times on February 25, 1959 ("We are pretty sure that...all Sunday Times readers are natural and inveterate logophiles...."); however, it had been coined some time before. It is a combination of Greek logos "word" + philos "loving, dear". Logos is also at the bottom of the names of sciences that end on -logy, such as biology, sociology, and psychology. In ancient Greek, logos meant "word" but it also referred to sentences or even discussions (as 'to have a word with someone' in English). Theologia "theology" to the Greeks, then, started out as a discourse about the gods. We can't discuss a word containing phil- without mentioning its appearance in the name Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love (adelphos = brother). (Today we are grateful to a true logophile, Colin Burt, for reminding us that we need this word in our growing collection of Good Words.)