Printable Version
Pronunciation: vê-ri-di-kêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Veracious, truthful, in perfect alignment with the facts, as a veridical excuse for being late. 2. Verisimilar, seeming to coincide with reality, seemingly real, as a veridical hallucination.

Notes: Today's Good Word strikes me as a bit rarer than its near synonym verisimilar but has the capacity to express "truthful" beyond the meaning of verisimilar. It comes with an adverb, veridically (notice the double L) and a noun, veridicality.

In Play: Should you ever want to express the sense of truthful but in a way only the well-read will comprehend, go ahead and use today's Good Word: "Nothing that the man says is veridical." Now, is that a compliment or an insult? The second meaning may be more useful, though, since it implies things only seemingly truthful: "Senator Beauregard Claghorn's veridical grasp of life back home in the South often leads him to vote against his state's real interests."

Word History: Today's Good word comes as no surprise from Latin veridicus. It is composed of the roots of verus "true" and dicere "to say". The Latin word verus went on to become vrai "true" in French. It derives from the same Proto-Indo-European root that gave Dutch waar and German wahr, both of which mean "true". If you think verus looks suspiciously like English very, your lexical instincts are indeed keen. Its ancestor in Old English meant "true, genuine". The Latin verb dicere "to say" had a noun, dictio(n), which meant "word". That is how it came to reside in Latin dictionarium "a collection of words", the origin of English dictionary. (I now offer a veridical—in the first sense—word of gratitude to Lew Jury for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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