valetudinarian was our Word of the Day on 09/14/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Oddly enough, "valetudinarian," a word for someone who is sickly (or at least thinks he or she is) comes from "valēre," a Latin word that means "to be strong" or "to be well." Most of the English offspring of "valēre" imply having some kind of strength or force-consider, for instance, "valiant," "prevail," "valor," and "value." But the Latin valēre also gave rise to "valetudo." In Latin, "valetudo" refers to one's state of health (whether good or bad), but by the time that root had given rise to "valetudinarian" in the early 1700s, English-speaking pessimists had given it a decidedly sickly spin.
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