Thursday, February 27, 2003

Etymology Today from M-W: fructuous \FRUK-chuh-wus\
: fruitful

Most people enjoy a good piece of fruit, and it seems that this was also true in ages past. In fact, the connection of fruit with "enjoyment" was so strong in ancient Rome that Latin used the same word, "fructus," to mean both "fruit" and "enjoyment" or "use." A rich crop of English derivatives grew from that root, including "fructuous," "fructose" (a sugar found in fruits), "fruition" ("the state of bearing fruit"), "usufruct" (the right to use or enjoy something), and even "fruit" itself. "Fructuous" comes from the Middle French adjective "fructueux" and the Latin adjective "fructuosus," both ultimately derived from "fructus."

More E.T.: usage notes: jocose
1 : given to joking : merry
2 : characterized by joking : humorous

When you need a word to describe something (or someone) that causes or is intended to cause laughter, you might pick "jocose" or a synonym such as "witty," "facetious," or "jocular." Of those terms, "witty" suggests cleverness and quickness of mind, while "facetious" is a potentially derogatory word for a lame or ill-timed attempt at humor. "Jocose" and "jocular" both imply a habitual waggishness and fondness for joking.

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