Printable Version
Pronunciation: tyu-mid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Swollen, bulging out, bloated; extended tightly or beyond the natural state. 2. Bombastic, excessively ornate (speech or language).

Notes: Tumid has an interesting first cousin, tumescent, which means "in the process of swelling" or "somewhat tumid." The noun is tumidity and the adverb, tumidly. This adjective is often confused with turgid, a near synonym. Both mean pretty much the same thing though turgid might be used more frequently in reference to a pretentious writing or speaking style ('turgid prose') than tumid, which more often refers to swollenness.

In Play: Anything bulging from internal pressure may be described by today's Good Word: "Do Sandy Eggo's hips seem a bit tumid to you? Has she fallen off the South Beach diet"? (Meow!) Don't underestimate the playfulness of this word, though; here is a way to fly both ways with it: "Since graduating from Harvard Leticia's head has become as tumid as her writing style."

Word History: No, this word is unrelated to tummy regardless of the semantic similarities. Rather, it comes via French from Latin tumidus "swollen", from the verb tumere "to swell." The same Proto-Indo-European root came to English as the word for the swollen finger, thumb. (PIE [t] becomes [th] in Germanic languages.) Without the suffix -m, we find it in the English word thigh. It picked up several more suffixes in the Slavic languages, turning up in Russian as the fat milk, tvarog "curds". (I will resist the temptation to lapse into tumid prose thanking Dr. Lew Jury for suggesting today's Good Word, but we are quite grateful.)

Dr. Goodword,

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