Laughter, they say, is good for the soul, so on today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the zaniest and most interesting words from around the world, we will introduce you to a historical figure who’s dubbed the laughing philosopher, perhaps due to the fact that he liked to keep himself in stitches.
Today’s definition from TermWiki is:
Given to excessive or incessant laughter.
Abderian is named after the city of Abdera in ancient Thrace (located in present-day Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece) and is an adjective used to describe someone who is prone to laughter or inclined to foolish or incessant laughter.
Abdera is the fifth century BC birthplace of pre-Socratic philosopher Democritus, known as the laughing philosopher. No knows for certain why he was given that title but it may be owing to his emphasis on the value of cheerfulness. He often appeared in public laughing while expressing his contempt for human folly. Some dictionaries also note that the citizens of Abdera were considered simple-headed, rustic idiots who laughed at anything or anyone they didn’t understand.
The opposite of an abderian person like Democritus is an agelast, or someone who never laughs, best exemplified by another pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Heraclitus, a native of Ephesus, earned the nickname the weeping philosopher with his pessimistic view of the average human’s interest in philosophy or capacity to comprehend the Logos—the rational underlying structure of the universe. He despaired of human society and spent his last days wandering the fields outside, eating grass and sobbing.
But enough about Heraclitus! We don’t want his melancholic disposition to rub off on us, do we?
So, back to today’s wacky word! We’ve provided a few examples below using the word abderian:
- I had never noticed before how abderian Nicola is; she gives me a headache. (unusedwords.com)
- Why is everyone in this room prone to express themselves in such an abderian way? It smacks of insincerity to me.
- For some odd reason I actually took abderian delight when I saw this headline in the breaking news sidebar this morning. (freerepublic.com)
Now we’re just curious, are you an agelast or an abderian?
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