• raucous •
raw-kês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Disturbingly loud, unpleasantly noisy, harsh sounding. 2. Boisterous, rowdy.
Notes: As expected, today's adjective has a normal adverb, raucously, and noun raucousness. However, it also has another noun, raucity, with a touch of class the more common one lacks. Remember, though, with the suffix -ity, the pronunciation of the C changes from [k] to [s]: [raw-si-ti].
In Play: Today's word is generally used in referring to an unpleasantly loud event: "After a meeting that can only be described as 'raucous', the city council finally approved the installation of a new water fountain in the courthouse." It may be extended to rowdy behavior, though: "Hardy Partier's last birthday party became so raucous that his mother plans to have a string quartet at the next one."
Word History: Today's Good Word started out as Latin raucus "hoarse". The root underlying this word was reu- or rau-, an echoic or onomatopoeic word that sounds a bit like a roar. The same root turns up in many Indo-European words, such as Sanskrit rayati "barks", Greek oryesthai "to howl", and Russian rev "a roar". In fact, English roar goes back to the same root. (We thank Mike Groman for unraucously suggesting today's fascinating Good Word in the Agora.)
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