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May 29, 2011

Word of the Day

  • credulous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KREJ-uh-lus\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: ready to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence
2
: proceeding from credulity
  • EXAMPLES

Because she is by nature credulous, Ivy didn’t question Bill’s assertion that the castle they stood in had been built in England and shipped across the English Channel to France.

"Koolhoven's philosophical probing of human limitation among the good guys -- and of what that complexity might mean to a credulous lad hungry for role models -- is all but overwhelmed by his commercial instincts and undeniable skill at juggling realism with genre." -- From a movie review by Ella Taylor in The Village Voice, March 16, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

It’s easier to give credit to people who adhere to their creed than to give credence to what miscreants say, or for that matter, to find recreants altogether credible. That sentence contains a half dozen words which, like today’s "credulous," are descendants of "credere," the Latin verb that means "to believe" or "to trust": "credit" ("honor," as well as "belief"); "creed" ("guiding principle"); "credence" ("acceptance as true"); "miscreant" ("a heretic" or "a criminal"); "recreant" ("coward, deserter"); and "credible" ("offering reasonable grounds for being believed"). "Credulous" is even more closely allied to the nouns "credulity" and "credulousness" (both meaning "gullibility"), and of course its antonym, "incredulous" ("skeptical," also "improbable").

Test Your Memory: What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "Petty despots and _________ tyrants often pay lip service to democratic ideals to give their regimes an aura of legitimacy"? The answer is ...

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