Word of the Week: Ebullient

Word: ebullient

Pronunciation: i-BƏL-yənt

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: cheerful and full of energy

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Merry Christmas! It’s the last Word of the Week of 2017, and since it also happens to be a festive holiday, I figured it would be fun to end this year’s vocabulary segment with a joyful word! There are plenty of synonyms for “cheerful”, but this one recently jumped out at me for how “bubbly” it sounds. I’d definitely save this one for my most energetic characters; there’s “cheery” and “jolly”, and then there’s “ebullient”!

To be “ebullient” is to be cheerful and full of energy. The word arose in the late 16th century in the sense “boiling” and comes from the Latin verb ebullire, meaning “to boil up”. This verb comprises two roots: the preposition ex “out” and the verb bullire “to bubble”.

Before its common definition arose, “ebullient” used to be a more literal term meaning “boiling or agitated as if boiling”, though this sense has since become archaic and literary. Similar to last week’s vocabulary word, “ebullient” falls on the upper end of the “happiness” spectrum in that it implies a highly energetic level of joy. As a synonym for “bubbly” (both figuratively and literally), it’s very similar to “effervescent“, a word I wrote about three years ago, so feel free to use these adjectives interchangeably. If your characters are usually energetic and enthusiastic, you may have fun writing about their “ebullient” personalities!

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

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