Printable Version
Pronunciation: roy-stêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: 1. To revel boisterously, to party noisily and obnoxiously, usually as a result of overdrinking. 2. To speak loudly, boastfully, like a swaggering bully.

Notes: People who roister are roisterers and their behavior is roisterous. However, if you think the doubling of the suffix -er a bit too much, simply omit one: a roister is also a roisterer.

In Play: When the fun at a party begins to offend some people, it has become roistering: "Noah Sarque finally had to give up roistering with his buddies when resting up from a roister took him longer than getting tired." Roistering is closely associated with alcohol intake: "Harley and his mates roistered from bar to bar until they were all picked up and tucked safely into a paddy wagon in the wee hours of the morning."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from French rustre "peasant, lout", a variation of Old French ruste "farmer" from Latin rusticus "rustic, related to the country". The Latin word is the adjective of rus "country(side)", ruris "of the country(side)", with the shift of S to R (rhotacism) that was common in Latin. The R-form went into the making of the adjective ruralis "related to the country", which English also borrowed as rural. It may seem odd that roister is unrelated to boisterous, given its adjective roisterous with its similarity in spelling and meaning. That similarity, however, is purely coincidental. (Let's all thank Alan Janesch not too roisterously for finding today's Good Word and bringing it to our attention.)

Dr. Goodword,

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