Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Luscious


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is luscious. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Luscious most often describes something that has a delicious taste or smell, but it can also mean “richly luxurious or appealing to the senses,” “excessively ornate,” or “sexually attractive.” 

// Their famous chocolate cake is served with a luscious peppermint whipped cream topping.

// Her deep, luscious alto made her the perfect choice to play the part of Sally Bowles, chanteuse of the Kit Kat Club in Cabaret.

// The author’s vivid, luscious prose won’t win over Carver or Hemingway die-hards, but fans of lovingly rendered (if a bit florid) description will eat it up. 

LUSCIOUS in Context

“There are countless avenues to flavoring a pot of beans; this one, with the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a bit of tomato paste, will lead the beans to a slightly spicy, slightly smoky place rendering them hearty and flavorful enough to be the star of the plate. … Drizzling in a little additional olive oil to the vegetable stock will give you a very luscious, delicious pot liquor, or broth.” — Andrea Aliseda, Whetstone Magazine, 16 May 2022

Did You Know?

Have you ever heard a young child describe a favorite food as “licius” instead of “delicious”? Back in the Middle Ages, the word licius was sometimes used as a shortened form of delicious by adults and kids alike. Linguists believe that luscious may have developed when licius (which comes from the Latin verb delicere, meaning “to entice by charm or attraction”) was further altered to lucius by 15th-century speakers. The adjective lush can sometimes mean “delicious” as well but is not a shortened form of luscious, having developed on its own from the Middle English lusch, meaning “soft or tender.”

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