Sunday, March 20, 2011

Largess(e)

Largess(e) \lar-ZHES\ or \lar-JES\ or \LAR-jes\ , noun;
1. Generous giving (as of gifts or money), often accompanied by condescension
2. Gifts, money, or other valuables so given
3. Generosity; liberality

This word dates to the early 13th century and is now considered archaic and literary. It comes from French largesse, which derives from Latin Latin *largita (from largus, "extensive, big", the forebear of large).

Seeing this word on a Sunday brings to mind a certain kind of gift or charity: alms
Alms \ahmz\ , noun;
1. Money, food, or other donation given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity

Alms comes from Old English ├Žlmesse ("alms, almsgiving"), which is derived from Proto-Germanic *alemosna, which was an early borrowing of Vulgar Latin *alemosyna. *Alemosyna comes from Church Latin eleemosyna, a word which dates to the 3rd century and comes from Greek eleemosyne ("pity, mercy" or "charity, alms" in Ecclesiastical Greek). Eleemosyne is derived from eleemon ("compassionate"), which is derived from eleos ("pity, mercy"). Before that the origins are unknown, but they it may have been somewhat onomatopoeic from the sounds made when crying for alms. The spelling change from el- to al- may have been influenced by Latin alimonia ("nourishment").

Today's word and the first definition were both taken from Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day' for Sunday, March 20
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or Etymonline.com

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