Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interesting words: Edulcorate

Definition: Edulcorate is a verb meaning "to make something palatable or acceptable" (several dictionaries agree).

Pronunciation:  eh, dull, core, ate. 

Origin: I had to put this together from several dictionaries. Edulcorate used to mean "to remove the bitterness from" or "to remove the acid from", which is slightly different from "sweeten", yet the word comes from medieval Latin edulcarat which meant "sweeten" and some dictionaries list "sweeten" as one archaic use. It seems to have since dropped out of Latin; according to Google Translate, Latin for "sweeten" is condulcabit. In chemistry, edulcorate means to free from soluble impurities.

Why use it?  While edulcorate is a very rare word, I cannot think of a single word synonym and it's a very useful concept. 

Examples: I read this in the opening blurb to a story in a recent volume of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. I can't find any other uses. But I can think of plenty!

The president edulcorated the tax hike by promising more services.



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