April 02, 2013
translucent (adjective)
\transs-LOO-sunt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : clear and pure as if shining from within2 : not transparent but clear enough to allow light to pass through
How do you use it?
Dani held the piece of translucent amber up to the light and could just make out a tiny, ancient bug trapped in its center.
Are you a word wiz?

"Translucent" traces to the Latin verb "lucere," which means "to shine." Which of these other words do you think comes from the same root?

Answer C is clearly the right choice. Look closely and you will notice several common letters in "translucent" and "elucidate." Those similarities let the family relationship between the two words shine through. Both terms descend from the Latin word "lucere," meaning "to shine." When you "elucidate" something, you make it clear by explaining it in a way that can be easily understood. In a way, you shed light on it. "Lucere" is also the root of another bright and shining English word, "lucid," which can mean either "bright with light" or "clear and easy to understand."
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