• uliginous •
ju-li-ji-nês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Swampy, marshy, boggy, waterlogged. 2. Slimy, oozy, slippery. 3. Growing in swamps, marshes, or muddy places.
Notes: English tried two other versions of an adjective on the same root before settling on uliginous. Uliginose and uliginal are still in use but only marginally employed today. Apparently, no noun based on this adjective has been tried, even though uliginosity is still out there.
In Play: As a common term, uglinous usually refers to something disgusting: "Henry blew a uliginous glob out of his nose." It loses its pejorative connotation when referring to geological regions or the vegetation that grows in them: "Reeds and cattails grow profusely in uliginous areas."
Word History: This word was borrowed directly from Latin uliginosus "swampy, moist, marshy", based on uligo "moisture, dampness". We are not sure where Latin got this word. The PIE word for "swamp" seems to have been leug-/loug- "swamp, dark", seen in Greek lugaios "dark", Russian luža "puddle", and Lithuanian liunas "quagmire, marsh". This leaves the initial U in the Latin word to be explained. It could have been influenced by uvidus "moist, damp, wet". Perhaps it is a blend of the two words, though blends are rare in Latin if they occur at all. Assuming that the PIE word was involved, we see it today in Russian lug "meadow" and Albanian ilogaçe "puddle". (Today's Good Word was brought to you by Jeremy Busch, Grand Panjandrum and long-time friend of the Alpha Agora.)
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