Word of the Day : March 11, 2011


adjective FULL-vus


: of a dull brownish yellow : tawny

Did You Know?

"Fulvous" has never been a common word, but you are much more likely to encounter it in texts from the 19th century than in texts from the decades since -- unless, that is, you care about ducks. In that case, you might know about a kind of whistling duck called the fulvous tree duck, which is a brownish duck with long legs and a long neck that has an unusual world distribution. It lives in isolated populations in North America, South America, India, and Africa -- remarkably without geographic variation. But back to "fulvous": it shares a meaning with its direct ancestor, the Latin word "fulvus," and "fulvus" itself is believed to possibly share an ancestor with "flavus," Latin for "yellow."


The dog had an unusual coat of fulvous fur with black and white splotches.

"'Do you realize what you’re monkeying with here, Mr. Swillenale? A HISTORICAL DISTRICT. What if your neighbors wanted to capriciously paint their home fawn with fulvous trim because it was cheaper than their historically accurate burnt umber with citrine trim? Eh? I think you’ll agree that that’s not a pretty picture. No sir.'" -- From a satirical piece by Bill Morem in The San Luis Obispo Tribune (California), April 1, 2010

Test Your Memory

What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "A retired ____________, Uncle Charlie has maps of the city that date all the way to the early 1800s"? The answer is ...


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