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Community Comment

A Word A Day — lugubrious

September 09, 2012

Word of the Day

  • lugubrious
  • audio pronunciation
  • \loo-GOO-bree-us\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: mournful; especially : exaggeratedly or affectedly mournful
2
: dismal
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Katie's friends guessed immediately from her lugubrious expression that she and her boyfriend had broken up.

“Then beneath that lugubrious lament comes a kind of gentle chugging rhythm, like the clickety-clack of a train, against which Sweeney thumbs his nose at the sentimentality established at the start of the song.” — From a review by Steven Leigh Morris in LA Weekly, June 14, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery,” wrote Publilius Syrus in the first century BC. Perhaps this explains why “lugubrious” is so woeful—it's all alone. Sure, we can dress up “lugubrious” with suffixes to form “lugubriously” or “lugubriousness,” but the word remains essentially an only child—the sole surviving English offspring of its Latin ancestors. This wasn't always the case, though. “Lugubrious” once had a linguistic living relative in “luctual,” an adjective meaning “sad” or “sorrowful.” Like “lugubrious,” “luctual” traced ultimately to the Latin verb “lug─ôre,” meaning “to mourn.” “Luctual,” however, faded into obsolescence long ago, leaving “lugubrious” to carry on the family's mournful mission all alone.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.


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