Word: opulent

Pronunciation: AH-pyə-lənt

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: ostentatiously rich and luxurious or lavish

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I like the word “opulent”, not just because of the way it sounds, but because it’s another example of a word that fits into a spectrum. Although there are several synonyms for “rich”, they all have slightly different definitions, and therefore fit better in different contexts. And of all these synonyms, “opulent” is one that I find most interesting.

“Opulent” refers to a lifestyle of luxury and lavish spending. The word is also a root in Latin meaning “wealthy” or “splendid”. This adjective possibly stems from the noun ops, which in plural form means “wealth”.

On the “wealthy” spectrum, “opulent” suggests a more pretentious display of riches. Therefore, if you choose to describe your characters or their actions as such, you’re likely giving them a negative connotation. That being said, I still think it sounds lovely and it’s a good word to know. Just remember that people can be wealthy without being too showy about it. Be sure to understand the difference before you accidentally cast your characters in a bad light!

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

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