Did You Know?
You are probably more familiar with the adjective innocuous, meaning "harmless," than with its antonymous relative nocuous. Both nocuous and innocuous have immediate Latin predecessors: nocuus and innocuus. (The latter combines nocuus with the negative prefix in-.) Both words can also be traced back to the Latin verb nocēre, meaning "to harm." Other nocēre descendants in English include the familiar innocent and the less familiar nocent, which means "harmful." Nuisance (which originally meant, and still can mean, "a harm or injury") is a more distant relative. Nocuous is one of the less common nocēre descendants, but it does turn up occasionally.
The factory owners have said that they will upgrade the plant to comply with new regulations on nocuous emissions.
"Late summer means giving way to fall's colors. But one color that doesn't make everyone's favorite list is a layer of bright green floating on top of your favorite creek, river, pond or lake. These rafts of green material can be innocuous in some cases, and quite nocuous in others." — John Ferro, The Poughkeepsie Journal, 24 Sept. 2015
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective related to Latin nocēre that can mean "painful" or "injurious": n _ c _ c _ _ t _ _ e.VIEW THE ANSWER
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