Word of the Day: gravid
Gravid (adjective) GRAV-id
1 : pregnant
2 : distended with or full of eggs
abundant, anticipating, big, carrying a child, expectant, expecting, fecund, fertile, fraught, fruitful, gestating, heavy, hopeful, in a family way, in family way. pregnant, productive, prolific, replete, teeming, with child
“We know by intuition and study that great books approach a condition both above and below human … and our job is to place ourselves somewhere on the continuum between those shifting poles, to welcome a gravid agitation …; to have our person-hood both threatened and amplified.” — William Giraldi, The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2014
“Her laugh overtakes her.… It’s restorative; it brings light into her eyes and her high, round cheekbones into sharp relief. She has a radiance sometimes, almost gravid, and it’s usually when she’s been laughing.” — Tom Junod, Esquire, 1 Feb. 2016
Did You Know?
Gravid comes from Latin gravis, meaning “heavy.” It can refer to a female who is literally pregnant, and it also has the figurative meanings of pregnant: “full or teeming” and “meaningful.” Thus, a writer may be gravid with ideas as she sits down to write; a cloud may be gravid with rain; or a speaker may make a gravid pause before announcing his remarkable findings.
Pregnant, distended or full of eggs, that’s what the dictionary defines the word Gravid. I admit, this is not a word I had ever heard of but does that make it a little-used word, one that might be on its way out from our language. Probably not. My research showed many uses of the word.
I’ve included a pic of tropical fish, called a Molly. It’s a female whose belly is completely distended. When I was young, I didn’t understand pregnancy in humans. I never saw my mother pregnant. But, I did raise tropical fish. Mostly, I focused on breeding Beta’s, commonly called Siamese Fighting Fish. Maintaining my tank for all those years, I could tell which fish was pregnant and which wasn’t.
In Molly’s and Guppies, it’s easy to tell. Their bellies get huge in comparison to their bodies. In researching this topic, I discovered that the females can store viable sperm inside their bodies for up to six months, delivering upwards of 20 fry per month until the sperm is consumed. Introduce a male and it starts all over again. Fascinating. In Beta’s I found it harder to tell, but I would figure it out when the breeding couple would build a bubble nest just before depositing the fertilized eggs.
When it comes to humans, unfortunately, I’ve never had the pleasure to be a part of the pregnancy process. That could be a good thing; I do admit. Nevertheless, I always wanted to share the experience with the love of my life. It was not to be. I did get a taste when my youngest sister allowed me to share a little of her last pregnancy. Perhaps that is why I have a special connection to my niece. She’s a terrific artist, now studying graphic gaming art in her final year of college. Yup, she animates and paints the skins (is that the right word these days?) on the characters.
Enjoy the day and kiss your extraordinary gravid partner as soon as you can. She is carrying a very personal gift.