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Pronunciation: kler-aw-di-ênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: The ability to hear beyond the normal range of normal hearing, the ability to hear beyond reality and into "other worlds".

Notes: Here is a wordmate for clairvoyant; in fact, it was created by analogy with it. The noun, like all adjectives ending in -ent and -ant is formed by adding the suffix -s, but the result is spelled clairaudience. The adverb is clairaudiently.

In Play: This word has a spooky connotation: "The séance last night featured a clairaudient contact with my grandfather speaking in the voice of the fortuneteller." But it also has ordinary household uses: "I received a clairaudient warning that you haven't been playing cards with the boys every Wednesday; instead, you've been playing rumpy-pumpy with some floozy downtown."

Word History: Today's Good Word was created in the 1860s by reverse engineering clairaudience, which was made by combining French clair "clear" + audience "hearing". In Old French clair was spelled cler "clear", said of sight and hearing, when Middle English borrowed it. Cler was made from a metathesized version of PIE kele- "to shout", source also of Latin calare "call together, convoke" and clamare "to shout out, proclaim", Greek kalein "to call", Lithuanian kalba "language", English hail, as 'to hail a taxi', Cornish kulyek "rooster", and Irish coileach "rooster". Audience was inherited from Latin audien(t)s "hearing, listening", the present participle of audire "to hear, listen". Latin created this word from a PIE compound: au-dhe- "to make perceptible", comprising au- "perception, to perceive" + dhe- "put, make". The remains of au- appears in Sanskrit avis "remarkable, obvious", Greek aiein "to hear", and Russian um "mind", but also yavit' "to appear (become visible)". (Now let's express our double gratitude to Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, a long-standing member of the editorial board, for suggesting consistently excellent Good Words like today's.)

Dr. Goodword,

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