I can honestly say with almost complete certainty that until I began hunting for a Word of the Week for this week, I had never in my life seen nor heard the word “bibulous” anywhere. Ever. Its absence from my vocabulary is exactly what makes it a perfect Word of the Week candidate.
“Bibulous,” which according to Merriam-Webster falls in the bottom 30% of popular words (surprising only in that it lands so high on the scale…) is an adjective that has two closely related meanings. The first is “given to the consumption of alcoholic drinks.” A drunkard is a bibulous person. On a more literal level, the word also means “highly absorbent.” While a bibulous person could be said to absorb large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis, a bibulous paper towel could be said to be very effective at wiping up spills.
This word could function exceptionally well when used to describe a character’s personality flaw: “Had she not succumbed to her bibulous nature yet again, she might have remembered the evening before a bit better. Hell, she might have remembered it, period.”
It could also work well in many different, more figurative capacities. For example, a character who seems to absorb knowledge (as opposed to alcohol) through osmosis might be quite positively described as bibulous: “So bibulous was his mind, that he seemed to need only cursory exposure to a thing before he knew it and understood it, inside and out.”
A haughty character might also be described using this versatile adjective: “Her self-esteem was so bibulous, that each compliment–or perceived compliment–she received seemed to take up permanent lodging there, until her ego was swollen like a gorged tick. And still, it kept expanding. There was always room for more.”
A welcoming home could also be described as “bibulous:” “Their bibulous home had become the neighborhood hub; no one was turned away. There was always a little more space, a little more food, a little more love.”
Now, go forth with your newly expanded vocabulary! You have been linguistically empowered.
Past Words of the Week: