Printable Version
Pronunciation: mai-ahp-ik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Nearsighted, shortsighted, unable to focus the eyes on an object unless it is close to the eyes. 2. Lacking foresight, shortsighted, devoid of any concept of the long-term future.

Notes: Today's word formerly inhabited only medical terminology. Around the 1890s it came out of that closet and entered the general vocabulary. It is an adjective derived from the noun myopia "nearsightedness". It comes, of course, with an adverb, myopically.

In Play: This word still retains its medical sense: "I'm myopic; without my glasses I couldn't recognize my mother ten feet away." Even clever people can be myopic in the second sense: "I fear for the future of the company: we just hired a president who is so myopic he can't see beyond his nose."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Greek myopia "nearsightedness", a noun based on myops "closing the eyes, nearsighted" from myein "to shut" + ops "eye". Latin mutus "silent, mute" came from the same source as myein. The ages ground it down to French muet, at which point English borrowed it and switched the E and T to produce mute. Ops is at the root of the English borrowing from Greek, optical. The root underlying ops was PIE okw- "eye". It is also the root of native English eye, which was eage in Old English. In Merry Old England of that era there was a flower called a dæges eage "eye of the day", which is today daisy. Window came with the Vikings as Old Norse vindauga "wind eye", comprising vind "wind" + auga "eye". (We would be myopic indeed were we to forget to thank William Hupy for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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