Word: effusive

Pronunciation: i-FYOO-siv

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: expressing gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Have you ever felt so grateful to someone that you just had to go all out to show them how happy you were? If so, what you gave them was an “effusive” thank-you for their kindness. And who wouldn’t appreciate that? Such a heartfelt display of gratitude reveals a warm side of human behavior, so it’s only natural that some writers would want to show that side of their characters too, right?

An “effusive” act is one that expresses heartfelt gratitude, pleasure or approval. This word shares its origin with the verb “effuse” (“talk in an unrestrained, excited manner”), which comes from the Latin verb effundere “to pour out”. This verb is made up of the preposition ex “out” and the verb fundere “to pour”.

Being a scientist, it’s likely that I’ve seen this word as much in its geological context as in its behavioral sense. In Geology, “effusive” refers to a type of igneous rock that forms from rapid cooling of molten rock on the Earth’s surface (as opposed to intrusive rock, which forms from slow cooling underneath the Earth’s crust). Most fiction writers would probably make better use of the first definition, but this one is still worth knowing if you tend to write a lot of scientific terms. Either way, “effusive” is a good word to keep on your vocabulary list, even if the only use you can find for it now is to describe the level of gratitude you’d like to show your most supportive readers!

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

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