Tuesday’s Word of the Week 12-19-2017


[puh-lood-l, pal-yuh-dl]



of or relating to marshes

produced by marshes, as miasma or disease.


 We durst not … make a sudden leap, princum-prancum!, from the pleasant land of Hesse, the German garden, to marshy Dublin, its paludal heavens, its big winds and rains and sorrows and puddles of sky-flowers…

— Samuel Beckett (1906–1989), Dream of Fair to Middling Women, 1992


The English adjective paludal is formed from Latin palūd- (stem of palūs) “swamp, marsh, fen.” The noun palude “swamp, fen” existed in English from the time of Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?–1400), who first used it, to Richard Hakluyt (1552?–1616), the English geographer and editor whose works greatly influenced Shakespeare (1564–1616). Hakluyt used Palude as a part of a place name, as in “the Palude or marshes of Venice.” Italian also uses palude as a common noun and as a place name, in the form Paludo, e.g., San Giacomo in Paludo (a small island in the Venetian lagoon). Italian also has the family name Padula, a metathesized form of palude, for someone who lived in or near a fen or swamp. Paludal entered English in the 19th century.


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