June 30, 2013
livid (adjective)
\LIV-id\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : discolored by bruising2 : pale as ashes3 : reddish4 : very angry
How do you use it?
Dad tells great stories about when he was a kid and he and his brothers would pull crazy stunts that made Grandma and Grandpa livid.
Are you a word wiz?

The history of the word "livid" has to do with a certain color, and - surprise! -- that color is not red. Which of the following colors do you think plays a role in the history of "livid"?

Don't be blue if you didn't pick B, but "livid" traces back to the Latin word "livere," which means "to be blue." The earliest meaning of "livid" is "discolored by bruising," and since bruises are often blue, the word's history makes some sense. However, "livid" has also been used to describe a paleness that resembles ashes, as well as a reddish color. Some uncommon color names are "livid brown," "livid pink," and "livid purple." These colors are not tinged with blue or red, but rather with gray. Most of the time, however, "livid" is used to mean "very angry," as in the example sentence.
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