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January 29, 2015

Word of the Day

  • disingenuous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dis-in-JEN-yuh-wuss\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating

  • EXAMPLE

Be aware that their expressions of concern may in truth be disingenuous and self-serving.

"He said the group's claims were wildly disingenuous and its objections politically and financially motivated." — James L. Rosica, The Tampa Tribune, December 18, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Today's word has its roots in the slave-holding society of ancient Rome. Its ancestor ingenuus is a Latin adjective meaning "native" or "freeborn" (itself from gignere, meaning "to beget"). Ingenuus begot the English adjective ingenuous. That adjective originally meant "freeborn" (as in "ingenuous Roman subjects") or "noble and honorable," but it eventually came to mean "showing childlike innocence" or "lacking guile." In the mid-17th century, English speakers combined the negative prefix dis- with ingenuous to create disingenuous, meaning "guileful" or "deceitful."

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