Word of The Day for Saturday, November 13, 2010


ben•i•son (BEN-uh-suhn)  n

a blessing, beatitude, benediction

Synonyms: blessing, beatitude, benediction
Antonyms: malison
Related Words: benediction, benefit, benefactor

Sentence Examples:
• It is my greatest and best book. It is the one that will live for weeks after other books have passed away. Even to those who cannot read, it will come like a benison when there is no benison in the house. To the ignorant, the pictures will be pleasing. The wise will revel in its wisdom, and the housekeeper will find that with it she may easily emphasize a statement or kill a cockroach. -Remarks, Bill Nye

• "At any rate, my dear," she said that evening, as she paused, candle in hand, by her bedroom door, "at any rate I hope you'll do nothing that is unbecoming to a gentlewoman." Such was her benison. -Septimus, William J. Locke

• On these roads the lark in summer is continually heard; nests are plentiful in the hedges and dry ditches; and on the grassy banks, and at the feet of the bowed dikes, the blue-eyed speedwell smiles its benison on the passing wayfarer. -Dreamthorp, Alexander Smith

The Storyline
"You should find another boy like that. You will, just you see," was both her mother's benison and instruction.

 c.1300, from O.Fr. beneiçon "blessing, benediction," from L. benedictionem (nom. benedictio), noun of action from pp. stem of benedicere "to speak well of, bless," from bene "well"

Sources: Wiktionary, Online Etymology

Why This Word:
Molto bene! Benison comes to us from the Latin for benediction, by way of French, and means much the same. Despite its ecclesiastical origin and connotations, however, in usage it seems to have a more secularized meaning. While it seem odd to think of a benediction outside a religious context, you may offer your benison in any context, like a blessing. Unlike blessing, it is not also freighted with the sense of sanction.

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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