Word: valediction

Pronunciation: va-lə-DIK-shən

Part of Speech: noun

Definition:

  1. the action of saying farewell
  2. a statement or address made at or as a farewell

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


This is an example of a word I learned by using a thesaurus, and I remember that I liked it as soon as I read it. I thought it had a nice ring to it, and I could certainly find a way to work it into my stories once in a while. Maybe the reason I like it is because I enjoy getting to think, “Oh, there’s a word for that!” I have fun learning words that sum up an act I would normally refer to using a whole phrase, for sometimes the fewer words we need to convey an idea, the better.

“Valediction” is the act of saying goodbye, or in more formal cases, an address of farewell. The word is comprised of two Latin roots: the verb vale “goodbye”, and the verb dicere “to say”. For an additional reference, the latter is also a root of the noun “benediction” (“the utterance of a blessing”), as the adverb bene means “well”.

I suppose I should have known about this word sooner, since I’ve long been familiar with the noun “valedictorian”. After all, it stands to reason that what they give at a graduation ceremony is a “valediction”, right? Still, I like to use this word in its more casual sense, referring to goodbyes exchanged between my characters. Of course, I think it works well in either context, so it’s really up to you to decide how you want to indicate the farewells in your stories. Now, in the spirit of the New Year, let’s all bid a hearty “valediction” to 2013!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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