Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-dê-kwêt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Sufficient, acceptable, suitable, satisfactory, fully satisfying what is required, up to snuff.

Notes: Here is another adjective without secondary stress which may be used as a verb if secondary stress is added: [æ-dê-kwêt] > [æ-dê-kwayt]. The verb means "to make adequate". The noun from the adjective is adequateness and from the verb, adequation.

In Play: The adjective adequate is generally considered a synonym of sufficient: "Morris discovered he had not misappropriated funds adequate to cover the cost of his Riviera vacation." In today's world of hyperbole, adequacy carries pejorative connotations: "Gladys Friday's performance report labeled her just adequate."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on Latin adaequatus "equalized", the past participle of adaequare "to make equal to, to level with". This verb is made up of ad "(up) to" + aequare "to level", from aequus "level, even, just". No one knows where Latin obtained aequus, but it remained in that language family until today as French egal, Italian uguale and Portuguese and Spanish igual. It is visible in Germanic languages in several borrowings, such as English equal and German egal "no matter", as in 'Mir es ist ganz egal' "To me it doesn't matter". (Let's now thank Tony Bowden of London for recommending today's more than adequate Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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