Wednesday, July 04, 2007

WORD A DAY

TREPID: timorous, fearful

Trepid has been in the English language for more than 350 years - 30 years longer than its antonym "intrepid." Bill Kaufman found a use for it in a May 7, 2000, Newsday article, in which an aquarium volunteer is "asked if she is prehaps a little trepid about swimming with sharks in a 12-foot-deep, 12,000-gallon tank." (Her fearless reply: "Not really.") The word comes from Latin trepidus, meaning "alarmed" or "agitated," and it has two cousins that you might consider using: "trepidate," which means "to tremble with fear," and "trepidant," meaning "timid" or "trembling." These are uncommon words, granted, but they haven't breathed their last.

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