Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Etymology Today from M-W: gormandize \GOR-mun-dyze\
: to eat greedily

"Gormandize" entered English in the mid-1500s as a modification of "gourmand," a noun borrowed from French in the 15th Century. "Gourmand" is a synonym of glutton and was originally fairly disparaging in tone. Likewise, "gormandize" was an unflattering term when it first came into use. But since the 19th century the meaning of "gourmand" has softened (probably under the influence of "gourmet," which is quite complimentary). "Gourmand" now usually suggests someone who likes good food in large quantities but is not necessarily a slobbering glutton. "Gormandize" is still not especially flattering, but it can imply that a big eater has a discriminating palate as well as a generous appetite.

'Tis the season. Incidentally, M-W.com has finally put up a link to its e-mail Word-of-the-Day newsletter:

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