Word of the Day

baleful \BAIL-ful\ adjective
1 : deadly or pernicious in influence
2 : foreboding or threatening evil

The “bale” of “baleful” comes from the Old English “bealu” (“evil”), and the “bane” of the similar-looking “baneful” comes from the Old English “bana” (“slayer, murderer”). “Baleful” and “baneful” are alike in meaning as well as appearance, and they are sometimes used in quite similar contexts — but they usually differ in emphasis. “Baleful” typically describes what threatens or portends evil (e.g., “a baleful look,” “baleful predictions”). “Baneful” applies typically to what causes evil or destruction (e.g., “a baneful secret,” “the baneful bite of the serpent”). Both words are used to modify terms like “influence,” “effect,” and “result,” and in such uses there is little that distinguishes them.

I’m gonna use this six times today, starting with Ebola.

3 Responses to “Word of the Day”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    the Old English “bealu” (“evil”)
    Hmm, sounds like “Belleau”

  2. Ken Summers says:

    “How much hay you feedin’ them horses?”

  3. Sounded like Beaulieu to me. And aptly describes their retarded website.

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