Printable Version
Pronunciation: trist Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An agreement to meet at a certain time and place. 2. A secret meeting or place for a meeting, a rendezvous or rendezvous point.

Notes: Today's Good Word is one that is often misused as a synonym for a love affair. Its actual meaning is both broader and narrower than that. It is broader in that, theoretically at least, it could refer to any kind of meeting, not just a lovers' rendezvous. It is narrower in that it is most often used as a secret meeting or meeting place of lovers. This word may also be used as a verb meaning little more than "meet", as they trysted after Church every Sunday at the local buffet.

In Play: Although tryst has been used to refer to any set meeting, today it carries the strong connotation of a secret meeting: "The Lettuce Inn has been the tryst of Fairleigh Luce and Candy Cain for months now." The word can refer either to the time or place of the meeting or the meeting itself: "Candy couldn't make her tryst with Fairleigh last Friday because it was the only day she could get her hair done."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Old French triste "a trusted or reliable waiting place in hunting". It shares the same origin as English trust and tree, the Proto-Indo-European root *dreu- "solid, firm", a meaning that ties the two words together. It underlies Greek dendron "tree", Sanskrit daru "wood", and Russian derevo "tree". In Celtic the same root became druid-, a stem that was borrowed by Latin then by English before going on to become Modern Gaelic draoidh "magician, sorcerer". (We might not trust a Druid but we can trust Riutaro Aida, AKA Flaminius of the Agora, to find interesting words like this for us to ponder.)

Dr. Goodword,

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