• matutinal •
(US) mê-tu-tê-nêl, (UK) mæ-chu-tai-nêl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Notes: This word seems to be pronounced different in the US from its pronunciation in the UK. It evolved as an adjective to the noun matutine "early hours, matins". It had an alternate, matutinary, which arose briefly in the US in the 19th century. The adverb is, of course, matutinally. Don't forget to double the L.
In Play: This word is often used in reference to the period of activity of animals: "Blue sharks, bees, and gerbils are more active during the matutinal hours." However, this word may refer to anything happening early or in the morning. "Lester loved taking his constitutional early in the morning, while the matutinal dews still twinkled on the grass."
Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from French matutinal, which evolved from Latin matutinalis "pertaining to morning". This adjective was created from the noun Matuta, the name of the Roman goddess of dawn. This name was derived from PIE ma- "good, timely", source also of Latin manus "good" and maneana "early" with an -n suffix. From the same PIE word came Latin maturus "ripe, timely", Breton and Welsh mad "good", Irish maith "good" with the -t suffix. Latin maneana became mañana "tomorrow" in Spanish and amanhã "tomorrow" in Portuguese. (Paula Ward entered a conversation with her husband departing from crepuscular about words referring all the other times of day and night when animals are active. Today's eye-opening Good Word is the only one we hadn't already covered.)
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