Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Word of the Day 12/7/2010

Susurrous (adjective): full of whispering sounds

Examples: The susurrous opening phrases of the first movement, with its whispering violins, gave way to a thunderous crescendo of brass.

"The Colonel raised his Dixie beer to the ladies, still chatting comfortably in the soft, susurrous Vicksburg night…." -- From a short story in Paul Kennedy Mueller's 2010 book The Pandemonium Bar & Grill (And Other Stories)

Did You Know?: "Susurrous" derives from the Latin noun "susurrus," meaning "a hum" or "a whisper," and may be a distant relative of "swarm" (think of the collective hum of a beehive). "Susurrus" also occurs as an English noun, with the meaning "a whispering or rustling sound." Of the two English words, the noun is the older (it debuted in 1826); "susurrous" came onto the scene about thirty years later. Both of these were preceded by the noun "susurration," which appeared in the 14th century and means "a whispering sound," or "murmur." Today "susurrous" is used to describe any kind of sound that resembles a whisper: a light breeze through a tree, perhaps, or the murmurs of intrigued theatergoers.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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