Word of the Day : November 25, 2010


adjective RIZZ-uh-bul


1 a : capable of laughing

b : disposed to laugh

2 : arousing or provoking laughter; especially : laughable

3 : associated with, relating to, or used in laughter


The teacher asked the class clown to keep his risible remarks to himself during the lesson.

"Skeptics of the plan could make any number of reasonable criticisms. But they're not. Instead, they're raising a host of risible objections that frequently cancel one another out." -- From an article by A. Barton Hinkle in the Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia), September 14, 2010

Did You Know?

If someone makes a ridiculous remark about your "risible muscles," he or she is not necessarily deriding your physique. "Risible" can also mean "associated with laughter," so "risible muscles" can simply be the ones used for laughing. (You've also got a set of risorius muscles around your mouth that help you smile.) Next time you find something laughable, tip your hat to "ridēre," the Latin verb meaning "to laugh" that gave us "risible" (and "ridiculous" and "deride," by the way).

Quick Quiz

The Middle English word "smerian," meaning "to laugh," gave English "smile" and what 5-letter word meaning "to smile in a smug manner"? The answer is ...


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