Word of the Week: Gay (cheerful; exuberant; merry and social OR riant; yeasty; Anacreontic)—An Adventure in Synonyms


2nd-3rd century Roman bust of Anacreon, currently located at the Louvre

2nd-3rd century Roman bust of Anacreon, currently located at the Louvre

When school is out, people must be sure to keep up their vocabulary skills. Cerebral stagnation is simply not acceptable.

Tickle your mind space with this word of the week.

The usage of “gay” in terms of cheerful or exuberant or merry and social is largely out the window—which is why I have consulted my handy second edition copy of The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Metzler for some advice.

Synonyms for…

gay (as in cheerful), adj.: riant
gay (as in exuberant) adj.: yeasty
gay (as in merry and social), adj.: Anacreontic

Which calls for some more investigation. The tome refers those interested in Anacreontic to the entry for convivial, with an example wherein the derivation of the term is explained:

The less-than-glorious origin of our national anthem was indeed a drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” the theme song of the Anacreontic Club of London. The melody, published in England around 1780, is attributed to [two] wealthy men who liked to celebrate music, food and drink. The club took its name from Anacreon, a sixth-century-B.C. Greek lyric poet who also celebrated, well, celebrating. (Mike Rudeen, “You Can Toss Batteries in Trash, but Shouldn’t,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 3/1/2003.)

Personally, I am going to do my best to bring yeasty into the everyday vocabulary of merriment and joy.

Good luck to all.

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