Word of the Day : May 14, 2021
Did you know?
Blithe had been bounding about in the language for six centuries before English speakers attached a -some to its tail to make blithesome. Poet Robert Greene appears to have been among the first to employ the extension. In his 1594 poem “A Looking Glasse for London and England” he wrote “these [large leather bottles] of the richest wine, / Make me think how blithesome we will be.” The suffix -some has over the centuries produced a great number of adjectives (many less popular than they once were) but it typically does so by binding itself to a noun or a verb, as we see in irksome, awesome, fearsome, and bothersome. But blithesome came from blithe—also an adjective—and is in fact a synonym of that word. A few other -some words, such as gladsome and lonesome, were formed likewise.
“The stranger had given a blithesome promise, and anchored it with oaths; but oaths and anchors equally will drag; naught else abides on fickle earth but unkept promises of joy.” — Herman Melville, The Piazza Tales, 1856
“Writing and producing comedy is no laughing matter. A subtle alchemy is required if it is to work—a strange magic involving both the playwright, the director and the cast. One slip and the most blithesome of comedies becomes either ponderous sludge or hopelessly contrived and blunt-ended.” — Chris Moore, The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 9 Sept. 2019