Printable Version
Pronunciation: ên-ree-mê--dê-maizd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Having not been covered again with crushed stone bound by sand, tar, or asphalt.

Notes: One of the most fascinating aspects of the English language is the extent to which it is a melting pot of words that have immigrated to English from languages around the globe. This word is a lexical Dagwood sandwich with an English prefix and suffix holding chunks of four other languages together. The prefix un- "not" and the past participle suffix -ed are pure English. Between them we find the Latin prefix re- "again," the Scots Gaelic prefix mac "son of" from McAdam, the inventor of macadam, the Hebrew word adam "man" and, finally, -ize, the Greek verbal suffix found in words like archaizein "to be old fashioned."

In Play: Conceivable situations calling for this improbable word do arise: "Our street remained unremacadamized for decades until the head of the Department of Transportation bought a house on it." Of course, anyone living in an invious region would be envious of even an unremacadamized road.

Word History: The root of this good word has an eponym in the name of John Loudon McAdam (1786-1836), a Scotsman who built roads with crushed stone bound with gravel on a firm base of larger stones. Because McAdam curved the surfaces of his roads, water ran off to the sides without compromising the base. Travel was much faster on these roads, which came to be called "Macadamized roads". Much later, the crushed stone in macadamized roads was reinforced with tar, then asphalt, giving us the current meaning of the word macadam.

Dr. Goodword,

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