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A Word A Day — benison

August 29, 2012

Word of the Day

  • benison
  • audio pronunciation
  • \BEN-uh-sun\


: blessing, benediction

The candidate sought the benison of the popular pastor in the hope of gaining both spiritual and political support.

"On warm(ish) days, the soft rain feels like a benison, pattering gently on fallen leaves and stirring up earthy scents that remind me more of spring than autumn." — From an article by Ann Lovejoy in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 4, 2008


"Benison" and its synonym "benediction" share more than a common meaning; the two words come from the same root, the Latin "benedicere," meaning "to bless." ("Benedicere" comes from the Latin "bene dicere"—"to speak well of"—a combination of the Latin "bene," meaning "well," and "dicere," to say.) Of the two words, "benediction" is more common today, but "benison" has a longer history in English. Records show that "benison" has been used in our language since the early 14th century. "Benediction" didn't appear in print until nearly a century later.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.