Source: Oxford Dictionaries
Fred: [singing] Six intrepid friends led by Fred, their leader, Fred! Fred’s Angels! Mm-mm-mm. Fred’s Angels! Mm-mm-mm. Harnessing the power of the sun with the ancient amulet they found in the attic. Mm-mm-mm. The amulet is green. Mm-mm-mm. It’s probably an emerald. Mm–
Wasabi: Fred, I will laser-hand you in the face!
– Big Hero 6 (2014)
What’s an adventure story without a fearless hero? For writers who like to include lots of action in their stories, it’s always good to know at least a handful of adjectives to describe the brave characters willing to face it. One of my favorites, “intrepid” is a word I’ve come across several times in adventure fiction, the most recent example being in the 2014 Disney movie Big Hero 6, when Fred(zilla) improvises a theme song while he and his friends courageously embark on their first adventure as superheroes. Despite eliciting a hilarious reaction from an annoyed Wasabi, Fred is right to refer to their group as “intrepid”, for to face a mysterious microbot-controlling villain in a kabuki mask takes nothing short of guts!
An “intrepid” person is someone who’s adventurous and fearless. The word arose in the late 17th century and traces back through the French adjective intrépide to the Latin adjective intrepidus, meaning “fearless”. This adjective comprises the particle in “not” and the adjective trepidus “nervous”.
It’s worth noting that “intrepid” is often played to rhetorical or humorous effect (note the example above). True enough, I’ve probably heard it just as frequently in the serious sense of brave adventurers as in the humorous sense of wannabe heroes. Whether your characters really are courageous thrill seekers or simply want to prove they aren’t cowards, “intrepid” is a great word to describe anyone in your stories who’s always ready to jump into the action!
What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?