Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
March 29, 2013
a : sooty b : obscure, murky
: having a dark or dusky color
Theo's journalism professor encouraged him to eschew fuliginous prose in favor of simple, straightforward language.

"For two weeks he continued his surveying in a fuliginous atmosphere of almost continual fog but then, on 5 August, the mists suddenly cleared, allowing him to make a detailed observation of a solar eclipse (on the appropriately named Eclipse Island, one of the tiny Burgeo Islands)." — From Frank McLynn's 2011 book Captain Cook: Master of the Seas
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Fuliginous" is a word with a dark and dirty past—it derives from "fuligo," the Latin word for "soot." In an early sense (now obsolete), "fuliginous" was used to describe noxious bodily vapors once thought to be produced by organic processes. The "sooty" sense, which English speakers have been using since the early 1620s, can be used to describe everything from dense fogs and malevolent clouds to overworked chimney sweeps. "Fuliginous" can also be used to refer to something dark or dusky, as in Henry James' novel The Ambassadors, in which the character Waymarsh is described as having "dark fuliginous eyes."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "expunge," our Word of the Day from February 27? The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears