Yesterday, I posted the word Saturnine, meaning gloomy.

Oddly enough, today’s word has the exact opposite meaning.

Saturnalian: Riotously merry, overindulgent  

How did these two similar words end up with opposite definitions?  Saturnine meaning gloomy, derives from the Roman god Saturn, who was, as it turns out, gloomy.

The Romans would celebrate the god Saturn with a not gloomy party called Saturnalia.  In fact, they would celebrate a bit too much at Saturnalia, hence the adjective Saturnalian.

Yesterday, I mentioned the saturnine Nikabrik from Prince Caspian.  Turns out, he was not interested in joining the saturnalian party in the book…. because of his saturnine attitude.


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Or, if you want to skip Latin, and just jump right into learning English words from Latin and Greek roots, you may enjoy the series Word Up!  Warning.   Word Up! is a bit wacky.  You will learn a lot… but, you may find yourself rolling your eyes, too.

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