Word of the Day : February 12, 2018

adust

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adjective uh-DUST

Definition

: scorched, burned

Did You Know?

Adust comes from Latin adustus, the past participle of adūrere ("to set fire to"), a verb formed from the Latin prefix ad- and the verb ūrere ("to burn"). It entered the English language in the early 15th century as a medical term related to the four bodily humors—black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile—which were believed at the time to determine a person's health and temperament. Adust was used to describe a condition of the humors in which they supposedly became heated or combusted. Adust black bile in particular was believed to be a source of melancholy. The association with melancholy gave rise to a sense of adust meaning "of a gloomy appearance or disposition," but that sense is now considered archaic.


Examples

The adust landscape of volcanic rock and sand can be particularly beautiful at sunset.

"These arid and adust creatures, looking like the mummies of some antediluvian animals, … had to all appearance come out from this long tempest of trial unscathed and unharmed." — Thomas De Quincey, Revolt of the Tartars, 1837



Word Family Quiz

What word is derived from the Latin verb ūrere and in its pluralized form refers to the smoldering remains of a fire or to fading memories?

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