Word of the Day – Felicitate

Word of the Day : March 10, 2021


verb fih-LISS-uh-tayt


1 archaic : to make happy

2 a : to consider happy or fortunate

b : to offer congratulations to

Did you know?

Felix, a Latin adjective meaning “happy” or “fruitful,” is the root of the English words felicity and felicitate. The former, which is by far the more common of the pair, refers to the state of being happy or to something that makes people happy; like felix itself, it’s also used as a name. Felicitate has always played second fiddle to its cousin, but enjoyed more use in centuries past than it does today. At one time it functioned as an adjective meaning “made happy” (William Shakespeare used it this way in King Lear), but the adjective fell out of favor and is no longer in use. Felicitate today is most commonly used as a verb especially in the English of South Asia where its “to offer congratulations” meaning is often extended beyond simple congratulations to the honoring of someone with an award or prize.


“Recently, the United Nations recognised Sasmita’s [Sasmita Lenka, a divisional forest officer] efforts and felicitated her with the Asia Environment Enforcement Awards 2020 under the ‘gender leadership’ and ‘impact’ category.” — Himanshu Nitnaware, The Better India (Bangalore, India), 3 Feb. 2021

“Jenny had, by her learning, increased her own pride … and now, instead of respect and adoration, she gained nothing but hatred and abuse by her finery. The whole parish declared she could not come honestly by such things; and parents, instead of wishing their daughters the same, felicitated themselves that their children had them not.” — Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749