In a Word: Irenic

November 08, 2010

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. Use it in a sentence in a comment here or on his blog, You Don't say, and the best sentence will be featured next week. This week's word:

IRENIC

Irene, the daughter of Zeus and Themis, was the goddes of peace. (Themis was the goddess of justice, the woman with the scales, so the peace-and-justice link long antedates contemporary liberals.) From Irene we get not only a female name, but also an adjective, irenic, pronounced eye-REN-ik or eye-REEN-ik, for aiming or aimed at peace, promoting peace, peaceful or pacific. The Greek root words are eirenikos and eirene.

Example: Now that the president and the ascendant Republican majority in the House have spoken of an earnest desire for bipartisanship, we can expect a new era of irenic cooperation in Washington — and a pony for Christmas.

From last week: A comment by ddfairchild highlighted the use of rebarbative:.

"The recent rebarbative comments of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett have proven abrasive to cancer survivors and their families."

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