Challenging Word of the Week: jeremiad

(jer uh MYE ud) noun

A jeremiad is a tale of woe, a lamentation, a doleful complaint, a plea for compassion, deriving its name from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet of the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. A book of the Bible attributed to him bears his name. He called for moral reform, threatening doom if his message went unheeded. It is the prediction of doom and disaster that we associate with his name. “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow!…She weepeth sore in the night…all her friends…are become her enemies…Jerusalem hath greviously sinned…The joy of our heart is ceased…O Lord…wherefore dost thou…forsakes us…thou art very wroth against us.” Thus spake Jeremiah; but how very boring it can be to be forced to listen to the jeremiads of one’s trouble-prone acquaintances! Jeremiah is a name given to any person who takes a gloomy view of his times and denounces what is going on in the world.

My example: Oh, the jeremiads of the modern major generals (ret.)!

From the book, “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House. I post a weekly “Challenging Words” definition to call more attention to this delightful book and to promote interesting word usage in the blogosphere. I challenge other bloggers to work the current word into a post sometime in the coming week. If you manage to do so, please leave a comment or a link to where I can find it. Previous words in this series can be found under the appropriate Category heading in the right-hand sidebar.

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