• antithalian •

Pronunciation: æn-tee-'thay-li-ên • Hear it at www.alphadictionary.com!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Opposed to mirth and festivity, deeply serious, morose.

Notes: This is an incredibly rare word. The Oxford English Dictionary has only one example from 1818 and it is altogether absent from Merriam-Webster's dictionary and most others. If you enjoy sending your coconversationalists to the dictionary, this is the word for you. It is, of course, a lexical orphan. For every word beginning with anti-, there is one without, however. So it is with today's Good Word. Thalian means "related to comedy, comic, humorous".

In Play: Here is the way we could use the word, if we wanted to: "I don't like funerals because most are so antithalian." Or this: "If the president's demeanor weren't so antithalian, claims that no one knew health care was so complicated wouldn't get as many laughs."

Word History: Today's word is the negative of the eponym, thalian, meaning against Thalia. Thalia was the muse of comedy in ancient Greece. This name goes back to Greek thállein "to bloom, thrive, flourish". This verb comes from PIE dhal- "to blossom, become green", which became dalar "green, fresh" in Armenian and dal "go forth, spring out" in Albanian. The only possible evidence of it in Germanic languages is English dill and a possible cousin in Old Danish, dylle "dill". This is all the evidence of this word's history we have. (Now let's all thank the mysterious Grogie, a decade-long denizen of the Alpha Agora, for submitting today's extraordinarily arcane Good Word from the state of Michigan.)

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