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sesquibimillennial

Printable Version
Pronunciation: ses-kwê-bai-mê-len-i-êl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 2500th anniversary.

Notes: Hip, hip, hooray!Today's Good Word would be the adjective accompanying sesquibimillennium, if such a word existed. You will not find it in any English dictionary because English-speaking people did not exist 2500 years ago. That was the time of Ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, Hittites, and the like. It comes up only twice in a Google search of the Web. It is a properly constructed word, and a most appropriate one to come as the 2500th word of the Good Word series.

In Play: Dr. Goodword has been working on his word-of-the-day series now for eleven years at alphaDictionary. In that time he has created 2500 Good Words, including today's. This word may be used legitimately thus: "In 1971 the sesquibimillennial anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire was celebrated throughout Iran." Rome would have celebrated its sesquibicentennium in 1747.

Word History: This Good Word is made up from the Latin word sesqui "one half more" + bi- "twice, double" + millennial "thousand years", created by analogy with sesquicentennial, bicentennial and millennial. Latin did not contain this word because Romans knew nothing of events 2500 years before them. Sesqui is a contraction of semi- "half" + que "and". The same Proto-Indo-European word that produced semi- turned up in Greek as hemi, as in the word English borrowed from Greek, hemisphere. Millennial is the adjective for millennium, a reduction of mille "thousand" + annus "year". (We owe a debt of gratitude to Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, a Good Word editor for many years, for the creation of today's very appropriate Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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