Printable Version
Pronunciation: sæl-vi-fik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Leading to salvation, having the power to bring about redemption. 2. Acting to save or rescue; securing safety.

Notes: Today's word is probably used more to refer to Christian salvation, but we should keep in mind that it simply means "rescuing". It is an esoteric Latinate word, so we should use it only when referring to more elevated topics. This word has a variant, servifical, which must be used to form the adverb, servifially.

In Play: Today's Good Word is usually associated with religion: "Robin Banks was a good-for-nothing drug addict, but the death of a friend from an overdose set off a salvific epiphany which turned his life around." However, let's not forget the fundamental meaning of the word: "Norman Conquest took over the presidency of a financially strapped company with salvific intentions."

Word History: This word is among the words most borrowed by English: save, salve, salvo, and salvation are just a few of the words which English high-jacked from different languages at different times. They all go back to the Proto-Indo-European root sol- "whole, unified". The sense of "save" comes via the sense of "make whole". The PIE word took at least two paths. "Whole" became in some languages "solid", as in Latin solidus. English solder (now pronounced 'sodder') was borrowed from Latin solidare "to make solid" via French soudure "welding, soldering". Salvo is probably the residue of Latin Salve! "Hail!" a common greeting among the Romans. The connection would have had to begin as an understandable joke. (Now it's time to thank Lew Jury for today's salvific Good Word that rescued us from one of my own.)

Dr. Goodword,

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