Printable Version
Pronunciation: rai-ê-taiz Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Dissolute or licentious (mis)behavior or lifestyle, dissipation.

Notes: Today's word looks and sounds like a verb with British spelling, yet it is a noun in disguise. Nouns like to disguise themselves; contumely is another, disguised as an adverb. It shares the adjective riotous with riot and remnants of the original sense of riot. Riotness is a synonym.

In Play: This word is a noun without a doubt: "The king and his mistress spent delicious hours together in loveless riotise." It tends to refer to misbehavior: "The party at Hardy Partier's ended up in a rout of noisy riotise."

Word History: Today's Good Word appears to break down into riot + -ise, the British version of -ize. However, it was borrowed from Old French riotise "revelry, wild excess", comprising riote "debate" + -ise, a quality noun suffix, seen also in franchise and merchandise. Riote was the Old French reworking of Medieval Latin riota "quarrel, dispute, uproar". Riota may have been a Medieval Latin reworking of Classical Latin rugire "to roar", but we have no evidence of that. We do know that riotise entered English meaning "dissolute licentiousness" and has retained this meaning to this day. (Let's all now thank Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira for not only seeing through today's Good Word's disguise and recommending it, but of editing the GW series since its beginning.)

Dr. Goodword,

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