Printable Version
Pronunciation: trê-dus or -dyus Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To humiliate someone by falsely maligning them. 2. To violate, trample, betray, as to traduce the law.

Notes: Today's word began its English life meaning "to convey from one place to another" or "translate". All that was in the past. Today this word is used only in the senses given above. The abstract noun for this verb, as we might expect, is traduction, but one instance of traduction is a traducement. Someone who traduces is a traducer.

In Play: Freedom of the press gives the media the right to traduce any public figure: "Siddy Hall was thoroughly traduced in the news when she proposed a ban on products containing sugar throughout New Monia county." Should such an ordinance be passed, critics claim, it would certainly be traduced by everyone.

Word History: Today's Good Word is the descendant of Latin traducere, whose meaning, over time, migrated from "lead along or across, bring through, transfer" to "change over, convert" to "lead in parade, make a show of" to "dishonor, disgrace". It came originally from trans- "across" + ducere "to lead", the origin of English duke. English transduce is a false friend to the Romance languages: Portuguese traduzir, Spanish traducir, Catalan traduir, Italian tradurre, Romanian traduce, and French traduire all mean simply "to translate". Latin tran(s) comes from the same source as English through, thorough, and thrill. I hear you saying, "Thrill!?" Yes, thrill, which only recently came to its current meaning. In Old and Middle English it meant "hole", from thrillen "to pierce, go though". A thrill was historically considered a piercing, something emotionally charged. "She got a thrill out of that" originally meant "it pierced her". Nostril in some dialects of English is still a nose-thirl "nose-hole". (Our old friend Lew Jury proposed today's Good Word years ago; it would be a traducement of our long tradition if were I to forget to thank him for it.)

Dr. Goodword,

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