Did You Know?
It was the ancient Romans who first used palmarius to describe someone or something extraordinary. Palmarius literally translates as "deserving the palm." But what does that mean exactly? Was it inspired by palms of hands coming together in applause? That would be a good guess, but the direct inspiration for palmarius was the palm leaf given to a victor in a sports competition. That other palm—the one on the hand—is loosely related. The Romans thought the palm tree's leaves resembled an outstretched palm of the hand; they thus used their word palma for both meanings, just as we do with palm in English. Now, when we award a noun with the modifier palmary, it signifies that thing as the choicest among possible examples.
A daughter of missionaries, Pearl S. Buck wrote many works about Chinese life and culture, with her palmary novel, The Good Earth, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.
"The palmary case of telling someone what to do is to issue, for instance, the simple imperative 'Go away'—an utterance which may or may not have the effect of making its addressee go away, but at any rate tells him to." — G. J. Warnock, Contemporary Moral Philosophy, 1967
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of palmary: RUOSIPER.VIEW THE ANSWER
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