Saturday, August 25, 2012

Salubrious & Lugubrious

Phillip from Alden wrote:  The words salubrious and lugubrious are similar in their spellings, but seem to have nearly opposite meanings. Why is that, and are there any other words that would fit in with them?

The suffix involved is –ious. It came through the French suffix –ieux, which came from the Latin –iousus, full of or characterized by. The roots to which this suffix is attached are totally different. Salubrious comes from L. salus, health. Lugubrious comes from L. lugubris, mournfulness. The –br– sequence is simply the genitive spelling for that declension.

Using the wildcard search, I found a total of 16 words in the Oxford English Dictionary that accidentally end in –brious.

  • celebrious [1556] Of a place or assembly: thronged, frequented; hence, of a ceremony, festival, etc.: attended or observed by throngs; festive.
  • ebrious [1629] Addicted to drink; tipsy.
  •  equilibrious [1643] That which is in a state of equilibrium; evenly balanced.
  • fimbrious [1657]  Fringed.
  • funebrious [1653] Pertaining to funerals.
  • inebrious [1450]  Inebriating, intoxicating.
  • insalubrious [1638] Not salubrious; detrimental to health. (Now chiefly of climate or surroundings.)
  • isobrious [1835] Growing with equal vigour on both sides; applied to a dicotyledonous embryo.
  • ludibrious [1570]  Apt to be a subject of jest or mockery.
  • lugubrious [1601]  Characterized by, expressing or causing mourning; doleful, mournful, sorrowful.
  • muliebrious [1652]  Effeminate.
  • opprobrious [1387]  Of words, language, etc.: conveying opprobrium; expressing scorn; vituperative; reproachful; shameful.
  • reprobrious [1539]  Reproachful, abusive.
  • salubrious [1547]  Favorable or conducive to health.
  •  tenebrious [1594]  Of or pertaining to darkness; of dark nature.
  • unsalubrious [1781]  Unhealthy.

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