In a word: Pellucid

October 03, 2011

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. This week's word:


The light shines through this word for "transparent," "clear," "translucent." Beyond its literal meaning, pellucid (pronounced pe-LOO-sid) means easily understood, lucid in style or meaning. Writers are sometimes praised for their pellucid prose, which, as George Orwell advised, should be as clear as a windowpane, the meaning shining through without the medium interfering with it. If it is music that is pellucid, it is clear and pure.

We get it from Latin, where the verb perlucere, "to shine through."

Example: H.L. Mencken on Abraham Lincoln's remarks at Gettysburg: "The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly. It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.