Printable Version
Pronunciation: træn-sil-i-ênt (UK), træn-zil-i-ênt (US) Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Jumping or passing abruptly from one thing to another, skipping from one thing to another. 2. Changing abruptly.

Notes: This word's family has been published at least several times in the 21st century according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), yet the OED is the only traditional English dictionary that carries it. It comes with three nouns, transilience, transiliency and transilition.

In Play: Transilience is a near antonym of segue: "Kids today seem to be transilient: 12 going on 20 and skipping the intervening years." Any activity that resembles skipping from one thing to another is fair game for this word: "Lucy Lastik holds transilient conversations that hop from one topic to another without any continuity."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a copy and adaptation of Latin transilien(t)s "leaping over", the present participle of transilire "to skip over, to omit", comprising trans "across" + sil- "to jump, leap" + -ire, a verbal suffix. English borrowed so many words from Latin beginning with the prefix trans- "across, over" that it is now a productive prefix in English, as in transatlantic, trans-Mississippian, transhuman, and thousands more. The root of the Latin verb, sil- is the combining form of sal- "jump", as in salire "to jump". English also borrowed the present participle of this verb, salien(t)s "leaping", for its salient and salience. Sal- comes from PIE sel- "to jump", which also went into Latin salmo(n) "salmon", so named because of its leaping out of the water. (Today's is yet another valid English Good Word that appears only in the OED—it can't be used in Scrabble—by the mysterious yet persistent Grogie of the Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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