Word of the Day : November 9, 2010

sylvan

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adjective SILL-vun

Definition

1 a : living or located in the woods or forest

b : of, relating to, or characteristic of the woods or forest

2 a : made, shaped, or formed of woods or trees

b : abounding in woods, groves, or trees : wooded

Did You Know?

In Latin, "sylva" means "wood" or "forest," and the related "Sylvanus" names the Roman god of the woods and fields -- a god sometimes identified with the Greek god Pan. These words gave rise to English "sylvan" in the 16th century. The English word was first used as a noun meaning "a mythological deity of the woods," eventually taking on the broader meaning "one who frequents the woods." The adjective "sylvan" followed soon after the noun and is now the more common word. Some other offspring of "sylva" (which can also be spelled "silva") include "silviculture" ("a branch of forestry dealing with the development and care of forests"), "sylvatic" (a synonym of "sylvan" that can also mean "occurring in or affecting wild animals"), and the first name "Sylvia."


Examples

We walked along a sylvan path for several miles and then emerged into a clearing.

"Although the redwoods and natural light help a great deal with the ambiance, Steve Coleman's painted set conjures a lovely sylvan setting, with mossy-trunked cutout trees, a quaint little cottage in the foreground and a fairytale castle in the distance." -- From a review in the Marin Independent Journal (California), September 1, 2010



Quick Quiz

What U.S. state name comes from "sylva"? The answer is ...


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