Word of the Day : March 11, 2019


adjective buh-THET-ik

What It Means

: characterized by triteness or sentimentalism

bathetic in Context

"The TV people inevitably reduce history to a series of bathetic tropes: the flag waving in slow motion, the rescued puppy, the evacuee given the star treatment of American Idol." — Matthew Power, Harper's, December 2005

"A vein of knowingness runs through it, a gently comic self-portrait of a lost soul out of time, as when Pierce casts himself in the bathetic role of a 'lonely rock and roller' hankering to hear Big Star on the radio." — Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, The Financial Times, 7 Sept. 2018

Did You Know?

When English speakers turned apathy into apathetic in the late 17th century, using the suffix -etic to turn the noun into the adjective, they were inspired by pathetic, the adjectival form of pathos, from Greek pathētikos. People also applied that bit of linguistic transformation to coin bathetic. English speakers added the suffix -etic to bathos, the Greek word for "depth," which in English has come to mean "triteness" or "excessive sentimentalism." The result: the ideal adjective for the incredibly commonplace or the overly sentimental.

Word Family Quiz

What does the noun isobath refer to? [Hint: It involves cartography and geology.]



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