Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
September 28, 2013
: laborious or intensive study; also : the product of such study — usually used in plural
The historical archives include handwritten lucubrations from Benjamin Franklin himself.

"From introspection, we are all familiar with the mental clutter, the chatter that makes up our daily life. It is a rapid fire of free associations, of jumping from one image, speech fragment or memory to the next. Late-night lucubrations are particularly prone to such erratic zigzagging." — From an article by Christof Koch at Salon.com, August 2, 2013.
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Imagine someone studying through the night by the light of a dim candle or lamp. That image demonstrates perfectly the most literal sense of "lucubration." Our English word derives from the Latin verb "lucubrare," meaning "to work by lamplight." (Yes, that Latin root is related to "lux," the Latin word for "light.") In its earliest known English uses in the late 1500s and early 1600s, "lucubration" named both nocturnal study itself and a written product thereof. By the 1800s, however, the term had been broadened to refer to any intensive study (day or night), or a composition, especially a weighty one, generated as a result of such study. Nowadays, "lucubration" is most often used as a plural and implies pompous or stuffy scholarly writing.

Word Family Quiz: Which of the following is a relative of "lucubration": "lucrative," "luculent," or "reluctant"? 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