Printable Version
Pronunciation: skrêmp-shês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Exceedingly delicious, especially delectable, totally yummy. 2. Richly provided with, excellent, marvelous, stunning, especially fine, unusually attractive.

Notes: Today we have a word only recently promoted from "slang" to "colloquial". It comes with a regular adverb, scrumptiously, and noun, scrumptiousness. Don't forget to write the P between the M and T.

In Play: This word is most often used as a description of food: "Cookie Baker had prepared a scrumptious dessert to top off a delicious lunch." It may also be used figuratively referring to anything pleasant because of its richness: "They always have a scrumptious tree at Christmastide."

Word History: All attempts at explaining today's Good Word leave something either phonological or semantic to be desired. I think it is most probably a blended phrase like 'scrupulously sumptuous'. The switch of the letters U for I in sumptuous is easily explained by its slangy origin. Scrupulous is the adjective of scruple, borrowed from Old French scruple. French inherited its word from Latin scrupulus "small sharp stone, pang of conscience", diminutive of scrupus "sharp stone", something uncomfortable often found in shoes.

Sumptuous comes via Old French sumptueux from Latin sumptuosus, the adjective for sumptus "expense", the past participle of sumere "to take, buy", used as a noun. Sumere was derived from PIE sub "(from) under" + em- "to take". The latter word ended up as imati in Serbian and imet' in Russian, both meaning "to have". In Lithuanian we find imti "to take", in Latvian, ņemt "to take, have", and in German, nehmen "to take". (Now let's give a standing e-ovation to newcomer Mary Bouchard of Cornell University for her suggestion in the Agora that we do today's scrumptious Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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