Printable Version
Pronunciation: sæp-id Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Having taste, flavor, or having a strong taste. 2. Mentally tasty, intriguing, stimulating the mind.

Notes: Among alphaDictionary's Laughing Stock is an article from the New Yorker entitled "How I Met my Wife". It is written in what I call 'orphan negatives', words like inept and insipid that seem to have no corresponding positive form. In fact, many do; however, the positive and negative forms are spelled slightly differently. For example, inept is the negative of apt while today's Good Word is the positive of insipid. Of course, the differences in spelling have led to slight differences in meaning, too. But this is why some negative words in English seem to have no positive correlate. The noun for sapid is sapidity.

In Play: Sapidity is what anything tasty has: "Gloria Moos prepared a most sapid and welcome repast for us after our long hike through the woods." It refers to mental sapidity as well as to gustatory: "Although Throckmorton's discussion of the economy drifted a little off point, I found that it contained several very sapid points."

Word History: Today's Good Word is yet another makeover of a Latin term, this time sapidus "tasty, savory" from sapere "to taste, perceive". This Latin word underlies a series of words referring to taste and knowledge; aside from today's word, we find sapient, savant, savor, and savvy. The connection between tasting and knowledge is an ancient one. Probably the most notable one is God's command to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17: "And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" It was a command that Adam and all since him have widely ignored. (Today we are grateful to Luke Javan for today's quite sapid Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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