Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: jocular; jocose; jocund.

jocular; jocose; jocund. “Jocular” (/JOK-yuh-luhr/) is the most common, but the other two aren’t quite needless variants. “Jocular” and “jocose” (/joh-KOHS/) both mean “given to joking” or “intended jokingly; humorous.” But “jocular” suggests a playful disposition {her jocular manner endeared her to others} or deliberate facetiousness {jocular remarks during the business meeting}, while “jocose” often connotes mischievous (sometimes feeble) attempts at humor {his jocose wisecracks wore thin}. “Jocund” (/JOK-uhnd/), a broader yet more bookish word, means “jolly, merry, lighthearted” {jocund New Year’s Eve revelers}. The following quotations well illustrate typical usage: o “Jocular, tanned and smooth-voiced, he gave the impression he’d rather be at a shrimp boil, getting things accomplished without seeming to strain too hard at it.” Tom Baxter, “Cheerful Dixon Packs Up, Heads for TV Screen,” Atlanta J. & Const., 1 Apr. 1997, at B2. o “Its violence is facetiously cartoonish, its sexuality just a hint in the air and its jocose sense of silliness right out of Nick at Nite.” Michael McWilliams, “Sam Raimi Makes a Successful Play for the Funny Bone with ‘Spy Game,'” Detroit News, 3 Mar. 1997, at B3. o “More than 500 turned out to a jocund rally and block party in front of the historic Apollo Theater.” James Patterson, “Reducing the Threat of HIV to Prisoners,” Indianapolis Star, 1 July 1995, at A12. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Most linguists would accept the statement that words mean only what fits the context in which they occur, and that meaning from other contexts is irrelevant. The position . . . has been most clearly formulated by Martin Joos, who states that of possible meanings for a word, the meaning that adds least to the totality of the context is best. The Joos statement is, in fact, an application of Occam’s razor, the rule of simplicity.” Archibald A. Hill, “Bad Words, Good Words, Misused Words,” in Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk 250, 251 (1979). ====================
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