Printable Version
Pronunciation: rah-lik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To act or behave in a frolicsome, jovial, exuberant way.

Notes: This word has been firmly established as English for an adjective and the only noun is rollicking, the present participle. There is another adjective in wide use, rollicksome. In the UK the noun has been confused with bollocking "a severe reprimand", and is often used in this sense, as 'to receive a fearful rollicking'.

In Play: All young animals are known for their rollicking: "The kids, freed from the confines of the barn, now rollicked and pronked in the sunlight." It may be used figuratively, too: "The musical rollicks from beginning to end, sparkling with song and dance throughout."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a blend of romp and frolic that originated in Northern England or Scotland. Romp is presumed to be a variant of ramp in the sense of an animal rising on its hind legs that escaped the clutches of English vowel rising. Frolic is cousin to German frölich "happy", borrowed from Dutch vrolijk "happy", formerly a compound comprising vro- "merry, glad" + lijc "like". This word goes back to PIE preu- "jump" which, with a suffix -g, ended up in English as frog, in German as Frosch, and Russian as prygnut' "to hop, jump".

Dr. Goodword,

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