Word: epicurean

Pronunciation: e-pi-kyə-REE-ən / e-pi-KYƏ-ree-ən

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I recently learned today’s Word of the Week from playing a mobile game. The theme? Cooking! Yes, this week’s vocabulary word is related to food, and of high quality at that. It’s only natural to want to enjoy the finer things in life, so if such a dream is beyond reach in reality, why not live vicariously through a fictional “epicurean” instead?

An “epicurean” is someone who is dedicated to pleasure on a sensual level, usually pertaining to gourmet food and luxury. The original word is capitalized and refers to “a follower of Epicureanism“, a philosophy founded on the teachings of the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. This noun traces back through the Old French noun Epicurien and the Latin noun Epicureus to the Ancient Greek noun Epikoúreios.

Epicurus was a materialist who believed pleasure is the greatest good and that happiness should be achieved by living a self-sufficient life free of fear and pain. Though primarily a noun, “epicurean” can also be used as an adjective to describe people who live by this philosophy of sensual enjoyment, particularly of good food and drink. Note, however, that Epicureanism does not condone the overindulgence of fleeting pleasures, but rather advocates the prudence of knowing the limits of one’s own desires. If you write characters with refined tastes and modest lifestyles, “epicurean” is the perfect word to define them! Good luck!

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

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