Word of the Day : March 29, 2013


adjective fyoo-LIJ-uh-nus


1 a : sooty

b : obscure, murky

2 : 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

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 …


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