Printable Version
Pronunciation: ror-ê-lênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Abounding or bejeweled in dew, bedewed, dew-laden. 2. Covered with a white, dust-like bloom, as plums often are.

Notes: Here is a word that sounds much louder than it is. We would expect lions and bears to be rorulent but, unless they slept outside on a warm summer night, they seldom are. Although this word has been rarely used, especially since the middle of the nineteenth century, we can safely project that its noun would be rorulence. Rorulent is based on the root of roric "pertaining to dew" as a roric luster.

In Play: The Silence of RorulenceAnything capable of capturing dew is capable of rorulence: "Through the steam rising from her coffee, Ariel watched a lonely humming bird quenching an early morning thirst from the rorulent foxgloves in her garden." Unrefrigerated chocolate is another substance that can become rorulent in the second sense of today's word: "Maureen opened the box of chocolates that Izzy Dare had given her to find them so rorulent from age, they were hardly recognizable as chocolates."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a Latin hand-me-down (rorulentus) to French, which polished it into such a palatable form that English could not resist gulping it. The Latin word is based on ros, roris "dew". The shift between the S and the R in this root is known as 'rhotacism' and is common in Latin. It is why the plural of genus is genera and that of corpus, corpora—all English borrowings. The original word apparently did not make it to English, but it emerged in Sanskrit as rasa "moisture", in Portuguese and Spanish as rocio, and in Russian as rosa "dew". (Thanks today is due the mysterious and usually unrorulent Grogie of the Alpha Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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