Word of the Day

pediculous

audio pronunciation
October 25, 2011
adjective
\pih-DIK-yuh-lus\
Definition
: infested with lice : lousy
Examples
Several third-graders had to be treated for lice after being exposed to a pediculous classmate.

"We prisoners called ourselves the Jerseys, not out of respect for this vile, pediculous hulk [the prison ship Jersey], but because it was our commonality, the glue that held us in its glorious stink." -- From the 2008 novel Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn
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Did You Know?
Count on the English language's Latin lexical options to pretty up the unpleasant. You can have an entire conversation about lice and avoid the l-word entirely using "pediculous" and its relatives. None of the words (from "pediculus," meaning "louse") is remotely common -- most of them are so uncommon that they appear only in our Unabridged dictionary -- but they're all available to you should you feel the need for them. There's "pediculosis," meaning "infestation with lice"; "pedicular," meaning "of or relating to lice"; and "pediculoid," meaning "resembling or related to the common lice." "Pediculid" names a particular kind of louse -- one of the family Pediculidae. And if you'd like to put an end to all of this you might require a "pediculicide" -- defined as "an agent for destroying lice."

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