Monday, March 30, 2009

Word of the Day: Florid

I just learned a new word, and it's fabulous. No, the word itself isn't "fabulous." It's "florid." It sounds bad, doesn't it? Like "horrid" or "torrid." But it isn't, it's very good:

flor·id (flôr'id, flor'-) (adj.)

1. Flushed with rosy color; ruddy.
2. Very ornate; flowery: a florid prose style.
3. Healthy. (archaic)
4. Abounding in or covered with flowers. (obsolete)

[French floride, from Latin floridus, from flos, flor-, flower.]

n. - floridity flo·rid'i·ty (fl?-rid'i-te, flô-) or flor'id·ness
adv. - floridly flor'id·ly

So I'm going to start using it as often as possible. I thought about making a new blog for it (another one? already? but wouldn't it be full of pretty things!), but a silly boy already wasted the name with a blog that sparked once and died four years ago. Humph.

Florid would be a great name for a little shop, too, and not just a florist, but one that sold 1000-thread-count pink pajamas and ridiculously expensive candles and delicious hand creams. I'd like it on a T-shirt: be florid. That would send a lot of people Googling on their crackberries, for sure.

It would make a great color name, too, since I'm in love with color names. It could be the color of pretty red nail polish from OPI, or a preppy beet-colored cardigan from J.Crew, or a cute rosy-red T-shirt from J.Jill. It also sounds like a great way to describe the color of a juicy red spinel, ruby, or rubellite. Sigh.

Florid could be the color of your lips after you eat a cherry popsicle, or the color they are after you've tried on seven shades of lipstick at the Clinique counter. It could describe a sunburn on your nose after driving around in a convertible all day.

But there's not just florid, the color, there's florid, the style. Like the ornate iron gates guarding homes in Charleston and New Orleans, the decadent jewelry of Penny Preville, or the lacy curtains in my bedroom.

Plus there are the noun versions, floridity and floridness, and since this word is nearly obsolete, I'm going to take it upon myself to make my own definitions of them. Floridity, for example, could be what you show when you're being particularly sassy. Her floridness is what you love about your craziest friend from college.

And then the adverb, floridly. A girl could flip her hair floridly--that sounds right, doesn't it? Even if it isn't. Or kiss floridly or walk floridly or even laugh floridly. I think I'd like to do all of those things.

I like peppering it into literature, too. One could go floridly amid the noise and haste. In fact, that's very good advice. Baudelaire could "be florid" instead of drunk, though a florid wine would be a good thing, too. How about, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a florid wife." Ha!

What a fabulous word, florid.


  1. Florid. Sign me up.

    I've decided I'm the crazy friend from college you're talking about. I'm quite sure I am, in some incarnation or another. Perchance in the stalking of unsuspecting British Lit profs.

    Not that I'd ever admit...I mean, not that I've ever done that. Or know anyone else who has.

  2. You are indeed the friend I was talking about! When I wrote that, I was thinking about that "Whatta Man" song and "You so crazy! I think I wanna have yo' baby!"

    That's what girls who stalk their British Lit professor listen to, I bet.