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Word of the Day
March 11
fulvousAudio Pronunciation\FULL-vus\
of a dull brownish yellow : tawny
The dog had an unusual coat of fulvous fur with black and white splotches.
“‘Do you realize what you’re monkeying with here, Mr. Swillenale? A HISTORICAL DISTRICT. What if your neighbors wanted to capriciously paint their home fawn with fulvous trim because it was cheaper than their historically accurate burnt umber with citrine trim? Eh? I think you’ll agree that that’s not a pretty picture. No sir.'” — From a satirical piece by Bill Morem in The San Luis Obispo Tribune (California), April 1, 2010
“Fulvous” has never been a common word, but you are much more likely to encounter it in texts from the 19th century than in texts from the decades since — unless, that is, you care about ducks. In that case, you might know about a kind of whistling duck called the fulvous tree duck, which is a brownish duck with long legs and a long neck that has an unusual world distribution. It lives in isolated populations in North America, South America, India, and Africa — remarkably without geographic variation. But back to “fulvous”: it shares a meaning with its direct ancestor, the Latin word “fulvus,” and “fulvus” itself is believed to possibly share an ancestor with “flavus,” Latin for “yellow.”

Fulvous Whistling Duck