Pulchritude (n)

While it is far from a high-frequency word (which means I almost certainly wrote it during the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic, when it popped up as the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster), here is a context clues worksheet on the noun pulchritude. It means “physical comeliness,” i.e. “beauty.” An old friend of mine would refer affectionately to his wife as a “pulchritudinous little plumcake,” which is the first time and place I heard the word.

In any case, the word stems from the Latin root pulcher. As Merriam Webster puts it, Pulcher hasn’t exactly been a wellspring of English terms…”. While I am not a betting man, if I were, I would wager that Pulcinella, a figure from commedia dell’arte (and namesake of the superb ballet by Igor Stravinsky) has a name that originates with pulcher.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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