• segue •
seg-way • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive
Meaning: To transition directly from one part or section to another without any intermediate steps.
Notes: A decade or two ago this word was the rage in academic circles. One did not transition from one topic to another but segued across topics. Today it remains a part of the general vocabulary that we all may use in place of transition. It also serves just as well as a noun, as in 'an unexpected segue to another topic'.
In Play: A segue is a direct, often sudden, shift from one topic to another: "We were talking about washing the car; how did we segue into a discussion of your Segway?" Segues can occur on a larger scale, too: "Hardy Belcher's life quickly segued into a morass of gluttony when he inherited his father's money."
Word History: Today's Good Word is the 3rd person singular present tense of the Italian verb seguire "to follow", segue "he/she/it follows". Italian inherited this verb from Latin sequi "to follow". It underlies a host of words referring to following that English borrowed from Latin and its daughters, the Romance languages. These include an earlier Good Word, sequacious, as well as sequence, persecute, and suit, as in "to follow suit". Even the ordinal number following the first one, second, comes from this root. (Time for us now to segue into an expression of appreciation to Robert Fitzgerald for suggesting today's Good Word.)