Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: I need a word
Question: I have been searching for a word, or even a short phrase that
encompasses the entirety of human health, wellness, and well-being.
More so the concept of an individual who is actively pursuing a
state of complete and utter health/wellness. I have discovered a
word that I feel encompasses this pretty well, only in antonym:


I would be satisfied even with foreign words or phrases, but alas I
have not come up with a single satisfactory solution.

Advice is relished.

Reply: The difficulty here seems to me to be less a linguistic than a philosophical one. It's a well-known truism that someone who goes consciously looking for happiness won't find it; happiness, wellbeing, are things that come on us unnoticed when we are busy with other goals. So I wonder whether there could be a word for the concept you have in mind. "Valetudinarian" relates very specifically to physical health, and I suppose the antonym of that would be something like "health nut" or "health fanatic", but I am not sure those terms have the connotations that you are seeking.

Geoffrey Sampson
Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
Date: 22-Dec-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: I need a word    James Vandenbosch     (21-Dec-2013)
  2. Re: I need a word    James L Fidelholtz     (21-Dec-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions