Word of the Day: elicit
Elicit (verb) ih-LISS-it
2 : to call forth or draw out (as information or a response)
The announcement of the final amount raised by the charity walk elicited many cheers from the crowd.
“But the big question is whether fragments of pottery, fraying textiles and decaying manuscripts can elicit excitement these days when people are glued to technology.” — Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2016
Did You Know?
Elicit derives from the past participle of the Latin verb elicere, formed by combining the prefix e- (meaning “away”) with the verb lacere, meaning “to entice by charm or attraction.” It is not related to its near-homophone, the adjective illicit—that word, meaning “unlawful,” traces back to another Latin verb, licēre, meaning “to be permitted.” Nor is elicit related to the verb solicit, even though it sounds like it should be. Solicit derives from Latin sollicitare (“to disturb”), formed by combining the adjective sollus, meaning “whole,” with the past participle of the verb ciēre, meaning “to move.”
Elicit should not be confused with illicit. Many people do. Elicit is akin to a blood draw, an interrogation of a suspect, or encouraging an ejaculation. It is used to acquire useful information from a co-worker, boss or client. I found a reference to the term in drawing the string of a bow in archery. Interesting, though I’m not sure I would use it that way, though I see how it can.
In my search for images, I found several cartoons describing the word, driving home the point of its definition. I found numerous comparisons on why elicit is different from illicit. And, I found a couple of books, companies and even a line of audio equipment titled ‘Elicit.’
Most importantly, I found numerous uses of the word Elicit applied in sentences and imagery that clearly should have been Illicit. Since they sound similar, I understand how that could happen but please, let’s keep them separate. Thanks.
I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Don’t you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.
If you share this post by clicking one of the twitter buttons, I will treat you with a sexier image related to the word. My gift to you.