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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Valedictorian - "student who delivers the closing speech on behalf of his or her graduating class at the commencement exercises of a school or college.”  From the Latin verb valeo, val─ôre meaning “fare well, be strong, be well,” and the Latin verb dico, dicere, dictum meaning “to say, tell.”  I always thought the word “valedictorian” had to do specifically with GPA (and the honoree often is the highest-ranking student academically in the class), but the word itself has nothing to do with grades, academic ability, etc.  (All information is from www.wikipedia.org, www.etymonline.com and/or www.dictionary.com).

RELATED WORDS/PHRASES – valediction, value, avail, evaluate, valid, invalid (one who is infirm)

SAMPLE SENTENCE - “Usually the salutatorian gives the opening speech at Graduation ceremonies and the valedictorian gives the last one.”

POP CULTURE REFERENCE - Key line spoken by Captain Dudley Smith in the 1997 movie L.A. Confidential, “Have you a valediction, boy-o?”  Great movie if you haven’t seen it!

GUESS THE APHORISM:  A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin... (scroll for answer)

...of little minds.  

(Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance)