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Definition: Valiant, brave, stout, formidable; worthy, virtuous.

Pronunciation:  dou-tee


Doughty first appeared in English in 1,030 from the Old English dyhtig, which has similar corresponding words in the old and middle Dutch and German. It is believed that doughty was derived from the OE dugan (which has pretty much been relegated to being an Irish surname at this point) which is related to the verb dow (to be good, strong, vigorous, etc.)

Why this word?

Doughty looks and sounds much like doughy, dowdy, and dawdle – which, unlike doughty are not words you would want to hear being used to describe your upcoming blind-date. I think it will be a tough sell trying to get doughty back into everyday conversation.  For example, after a grueling day working the nets in rough seas, you can set yourself down at the bar, order a pint of stout, regale your neighbors with tales of your brave actions in the face nature’s formidable fury, and then drive off in your Valiant; but try slipping doughty into that conversation once or twice and you’re likely to find yourself spending your Saturday night’s doing laundry.

As late as the 1800’s doughty was also used as a noun meaning ‘man, or men, of velour’.  As in, “We decided to stay hidden until the doughty came to our rescue.”

How would ‘doughty’ be used in a sentence?

“The true and doughty knights were prepared to lay down their lives for the King.”


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Written by Gregory Fodero

Gregory Fodero is a writer of fiction and screenplays. He holds a BA in English, is a member of Mensa, and excels at blending into large crowds. He is sometimes described as 'funny' and tries to take it as a compliment, regardless of the speakers intent. Find out for yourself on Twitter: @Resistible.


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