Word of The Day for Thursday, November 25, 2010


ab•der•i•an (AB-dir-ee-uhn)  adj

given to excessive or incessant laughter

After Abdera, in ancient Thrace (present day Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece), the birth place of Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher.t's not certain why Democritus was nicknamed the Laughing Philosopher. It may be owing to his stress on the value of cheerfulness. It's also said that he often appeared in public laughing while expressing his contempt of human follies. Paintings frequently show him laughing.
Online Etymology:
From Abdera, in Thrace, whose citizens were proverbial as rustic simpletons who would laugh at anything or anyone they didn't understand.

Synonyms: risible, hypergelastic
Antonyms: agelastic

Sentence Examples:
• Indeed, the Japanese have recourse to risibility whenever the frailties of human nature are put to severest test. I think we possess a better reason than Democritus himself for our Abderian tendency; for laughter with us oftenest veils an effort to regain balance of temper, when disturbed by any untoward circumstance. It is a counterpoise of sorrow or rage. -Bushido, the Soul of Japan, Inazo Nitobé

• But when, an hour later, Company K's whole street was aroused by peal on peal of Abderian laughter, Jack and Nick were found helpless in their bunks, and Barney was engaged in presenting a potion to settle their collapsed nerves! -The Iron Game, Henry Francis Keenan

• And though he never takes off more than his jacket, his sly grin, twinkling eye and enthusiastic reprogramming of Great Ritual Moments from Minsky often reduce other partygoers to spasmodic Abderian jocundity. -LIFE - Mar 26, 1971

The Storyline
... the biggest challenge being fighting her Abderian nature and resisting the urge to laugh at her mother's unintentional humor.

Why This Word:
Have an Abderian Thanksgiving!
Here's a delightful toponym that hasn't quite separated enough from the place it references to lose the capitalization, even as sources disagree as to why Abdera is associated with laughter.

Sources: Answers.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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