Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Words best left on the shelf — today: eudaemonic

Here’s a word that never got on my radar. Eudaemonic: conducive to happiness. I need a eudaemonic martini right about now.

It’s a word that’s hard to work into conversation without raising questions, though, particularly because it makes one seem like a pompous bastard like William F. Buckley. I can just imagine him using eudaemonic and looking at you with a sneer because he knows you have no idea what it means.

Also, the word as “daemon” built right into it. That’s just an archaic spelling of “demon,” which carries its own baggage in terms of connotations. And to think that demons are somehow conducive to happiness is confusing, unless you’re in a satanic cult, I suppose, or a Republican. Either way, people aren’t going to want to converse with you, so you won’t get a chance to use your fancy new word.

Better, all around, to just choose a different word. How about “blithesome”? Or “groovy”?

7 comments on “Words best left on the shelf — today: eudaemonic

  1. quiverquotes
    March 24, 2017

    Ha, had to go look it up! The etymology is kind of cool: early 19th century: from Greek eudaimonismos ‘system of happiness’, from eudaimōn ‘happy’, from eu ‘well’ + daimōn ‘guardian spirit’.

    “Eudæmonics, or the art of applying life to the maximization of wellbeing.” — seems to have been a thing in the 1830s. Callisthenics made into the vocab, so who knows, maybe we’ll circle around (apolitically) to the happiness demons and sound super cool while practicing their art …

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 24, 2017

      I like the idea of “happiness demons”! They must be out there somewhere …

      Thanks for the detailed background. Oh, those Greeks!

    • Yahooey
      March 24, 2017

      Devilishly playful etymology

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful
    March 24, 2017

    “Eudaemonic martini?”
    “Hey! Don’t you dare insult my family!!”

  3. John W. Howell
    March 24, 2017

    Eudaemonic martini is overkill. The martini alone is conducive to happiness

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 24, 2017

      All martinis are eudaemonic, John. By definition. 🍸 😃

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This entry was posted on March 24, 2017 by in Writing and tagged , .
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