Printable Version
Pronunciation: spe-rayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Hopeful, having hope or expectation (antonym of desperate). 2. (Law) Hoped for, expectable, promising, as 'sperate debts' which are likely to be recovered.

Notes: Today's word is one that has already drifted over the cliff into oblivion. However, since we still use its derived antonym (desperate), let's at least try to retrieve it. It seems to have been all its life a lexical orphan, although speration, like desperation, begs to be used at least in intelligent writing.

In Play: This sentence demonstrates its most probable sense: "Golda Silver was sperate that she could get an apartment in the Bedside Manor on Rue Barbe Pye in Baton Rouge." Here is a sentence using today's Good Word twice, once in each of its meanings: "She was also sperate that she would recover the sperate $100,000 owed her by Ty Kuhn."

Word History: This word is an English renovation of Latin speratus, the past participle of sperare "to hope". It is the antonym of desperare "to be hopeless, to despair", which also came to English, via French, as despair. We also see this root in prosper from Latin prosperus "favorable, prosperous", from the phrase pro spere "according to one's hope". Godspeed also derived from the PIE root that gave us sperare. Old English sped meant "success (what we hope for)". By Middle English people were saying God spede (you) "may God prosper you", from the present subjunctive of speden "to prosper". By early Modern English sped had become speed with the concomitant shift in meaning, which meant the phrase still worked as a farewell. (I am sure we are sperate that the mysterious Grogie, a Lexiterian in the Alpha Agora, will continue to submit Good Words as esoteric as today's.)

Dr. Goodword,

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