Word of the Day : February 10, 2012


adjective LOO-dik


: of, relating to, or characterized by play : playful

Did You Know?

Here's a serious word, just for fun. That is to say, it means "fun," but it was created in all seriousness around 1940 by psychologists. They wanted a term to describe what children do, and they came up with "ludic activity." That may seem ludicrous -- why not just call it "playing"? -- but the word "ludic" caught on, and it's not all child's play anymore. It can refer to architecture that is playful, narrative that is humorous and even satirical, and literature that is light. "Ludic" is ultimately from the Latin noun "ludus," which refers to a whole range of fun things -- stage shows, games, sports, even jokes. The more familiar word "ludicrous" also traces back to the same source.


The members of the acting troupe had become well-known for their ludic behavior, evidenced by the practical jokes they played on each other off-stage.

"Accompanied by his trademark mirror-written notes -- often unrelated to the images -- Leonardo sketches, scribbles and jots his way through the myriad questions that puzzle his ludic, mercurial mind." -- From a review of a museum exhibit by Rachel Spence in Financial Times, January 9, 2012

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "ludic" can mean "an intervening or interruptive period, space, or event"? The answer is ...


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