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solicitous

Printable Version
Pronunciation: sê-li-si-tês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Showing concern for another, displaying 'otherly' love. 2. Worried, anxious about someone other than oneself.

Notes: Today's word comes with an ordinary noun, solicitousness, and an extraordinary one, solicitude. The latter provides its own adjective, solicitudinous, a synonym of today's Good Word and, for that reason, rarely heard. The verb solicit that we see in this word originally meant "to disturb, trouble", as is still often the case when we are solicited to do something.

In Play: We find many motivations for solicitude: "Anna Conda is solicitous of everyone above her in the company hierarchy, but positively demonic to all those below her." Solicitude can also bring about anxiety: "Anna's mother is solicitous about her daughter's work ethic."

Word History: English borrowed this word from French solliciteux which French inherited from Latin sollicitus "thoroughly moved, agitated, disturbed", comprising sollus "entire" + citus, the past participle of ciere "to set in motion". Sollus goes back to the apparent Proto-Indo-European word sol- "whole", which also turned up in Latin as solidus, which English borrowed for its word solid. Ciere comes from PIE keiÍ- "to move (something)". We also find the remains of this word in kinetic "related to motion" and resuscitate, from the past participle of Latin resuscitare "to stir up again", made up of re- "again" + sub "(from) under, below" + citare "to set in motion", a variant of ciere. (We now thank William Hupy, always solicitous of the Good Word series, for his suggestion of today's word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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