Printable Version
Pronunciation: vay-pid,-pid Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Tasteless, insipid, flat, lacking strength or zest, as vapid beer or duck l'orange. 2. Dull, lifeless, lacking in substance or content.

Notes: One may speak vapidly, to use the adverb. The quality behind today's adjective is vapidity or, if you prefer, you may use the more vapid word, vapidness. The comparison and superlative are formed with more and most: more vapid, most vapid.

In Play: The original sense of today's word refers to taste or, more precisely, to tastelessness or a lack of liveliness: "The party went fairly well though the punch had no punch; it was positively vapid." Do keep in mind that the metaphorical uses of these words apply as well to vapid: "I enjoyed the conference as a whole though I found the talk by Mick Stupp rather dull and vapid."

Word History: Today's Good Word is clearly from Latin, this time from vapidus "stale, tasteless", the adjective of vappa "stale wine". The root is probably related to vapor, via a sense of something not complete or insubstantial. A greater stretch, though still a credible one, would be a relationship to English fade. The connection here would be only between the [va] and [fa], the assumption being that the Latin and English words started out with different suffixes. (Today's word comes at the suggestion of Katy Brezger, whose taste for intriguing words is far from vapid.)

Dr. Goodword,

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