Printable Version
Pronunciation: kahn-kyu-pis-ênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Lustful, libidinous, horny, randy. 2. Strongly desirous of anything.

Notes: This is the polite word for horny or randy, whichever you currently use. Like most adjectives ending on -nt, this one forms its noun by replacing the final T with -ce, concupiscence. The adverb is, again, predictably, concupiscently.

In Play: The long history of this word's usage in the sense of "lustful" strongly overweighs the sense of simply "desirous": "When the concupiscent eye of Phil Anders fell on Marian Kine, she arose and left the room." In fact, I couldn't find or think of a single example of it being used in the sense of simple desire, so here is another example with the first meaning: "George joined the Church hoping it would cool his concupiscent appetites."

Word History: Today's word is the usual modification of Latin concupiscen(t)s, the present participle of concupiscere "to be very desirous of". Concupiscere is a variant of concupere from com-, here just an intensive prefix, + cupere "to long for". We see this sense in Cupid, the Latin god of erotic love. English borrowed this word and assigned it to a cute little boy with wings and a bow and arrow, thus eliminating any sense of the erotic. Cupidity is another word whose meaning had changed by the time English borrowed it from Old French. It now means "greed, avarice, especially for money". Beyond Latin, the trail of this word gets murkier. The Latin verb could be a cognate of Sanskrit kupyati "bubbles up, becomes agitated" and Russian kipet' "to boil". (We now would like to thank George Kovac, the sedulous word-miner who lives, reads, and practices law in Miami, Florida.)

Dr. Goodword,

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