Printable Version
Pronunciation: splais Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To join two lengths of long, slender material (e.g. wire, film) with an appropriate fastener or glue to make one continuous piece. 2. To insert a piece of genetic code into a strip of DNA. 3. (Slang) To marry.

Notes: Today's Good Word has been fully assimilated by English. Its personal and instrumental noun is splicer. A single action or result of the verb is a splice and the continuing action is referred to as simply splicing.

In Play: The most common use of this word is in the first sense above: "The opposition had spliced a tape of him saying, "I like," to one which showed him saying "higher taxes," in their new political campaign ad." However, the second sense is catching up fast: "I wish someone would take genetic material from wet noodles and splice them into politician DNA to create a more moderate candidate for the position."

Word History: Today's Good Word has a meaning that apparently did a 180 "about face" over the course of its history. It apparently escaped naval vocabulary where it was used to refer to splicing rope. It was borrowed from Middle Dutch splissen "splice" (today splitsen), apparently from PIE (s)plei- "to split, cut". We find its remnants in Latvian plites "splits", English splint, splinter and split, Norwegian splint "splinter", and Irish spléach "splinter". Without the initial Fickle S, we find English flint, Swedish flinta "flint", and Norwegian flint "flint" and flindra "to shatter". (Now let's all tip our hats to Barbara Beeton, avid Agoran and active wordster for seeing the interest in today's contrary Good Word and sharing it.)

Dr. Goodword,

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