Friday, September 26, 2008

A Lurid, Livid Little FYI

Lurid, although interesting, is frequently misused. That which is lurid gives off a ghastly yellowish red light, such as flames with smoke, or reflecting or made visible by such light. By extension, this also means giving uncertain or unearthly light of any kind, such as lurid flashes of lightening; or a lurid atmosphere.

Please distinguish it from livid, which means black and blue, ashen, or lead-colored.
Livid does not mean angry and lurid does not mean lewd, or sexually vulgar.

So the child molester doesn't give a lurid smile, unless he is bathed in yellow light. What he probably gives is a lewd smile, or perhaps a leering glance.

And you should probably describe your mother as "furious" rather than "livid" when you break her favorite crystal vase, unless you drop the vase on her head, in which case she might indeed be black and blue.

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