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gregarious (gri-GAIR-ee-uhs) adjective

1. Enjoying the company of others; sociable.

2. (Of plants) growing together in clusters, but not matted.

3. (Of animals) living in groups.

[From Latin gregarius (belonging to a flock), from greg- (stem of grex-). Ultimately from Indo-European root ger- (to gather) which is also the source of such words as aggregate, congregation, egregious, and segregate.]

"Gregarious to the point of effervescence, at one point he (Gary Shteyngart) even tries to talk this reporter into moving to Vietnam, or possibly Moscow."
Evan Rail; Return of the Emigre; The Prague Post (Czech Republic); Apr 1, 2004.

"Also when you see masses of animals get together, it's impressive -- whether you're looking at people in downtown Manhattan or at herds of walruses. They touch a lot. They're gregarious and social. In that way, there are a lot of human comparisons."
Brian Handwerk; Filmmaker on Shooting Walruses Underwater; National Geographic (Washington, DC); Apr 2, 2004.

AWAD subscribers read this newsletter for many different reasons. For some, it's the joy of learning fascinating stories of the origins of words or their etymologies. For others, it's discovering unusual words, whether it's their meanings or sounds or spelling.

Many, especially students, read it to improve their vocabulary for one of the many standardized tests or for personal enrichment. Those readers sometimes write back to say, "OK, so this word petrichor is interesting, but I'd like to see words that I can use more often in my daily life."

Each word featured in AWAD includes examples taken from newspapers, magazines, and books to illustrate it and to show that it has been used in the real world.

Still, we take their point. This week we present words you might encounter in your next test.

-Anu Garg


Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness. -Henrik Ibsen, playwright (1828-1906)

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