Word of the Week: Lucubrate

Sukanya Roy, Champion of the 2011 Scripps Nati...

Sukanya Roy, who won the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, avuncular, saturnine, sybaritic, antediluvian, concomitant, uxorious and… how about lucubrate?

Lucubrate (pronounced LUKE-uh-brate), an intransitive verb, is defined by Webster’s Fourth as “to work, study or write laboriously, especially late at night; to write in a scholarly manner.” It comes, apparently, from the Latin lucubratus, “to work by candlelight.”

This word is interesting for two reasons. One, I noticed it in a blog post on winning words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee, though contest officials accepted a different spelling at the time: elucubrate. Webster’s recognizes no such word, so I will write that the correct spelling of “lucubrate” gave the victory in 1980 to Jacques Bailly, a Denver boy who went on to become a Fulbright scholar. And something of a fusspot, apparently. He has been the bee’s official pronouncer since 2003.

Two, I can find no use of lucubrate in the popular, Web-friendly media. Really no sign of it at all on the Web, if you trust Google, and discount lazy “word of the day”-type posts like this and not-so-cleverly labeled publications. So it behooves you, I think, to start.


One thought on “Word of the Week: Lucubrate

  1. Pingback: Word of the Week: Vulpine « Patos Papa

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