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Definition: To bask in the sunshine.

Pronunciation: ah-pree-kaht


Entered the English language in the 1690s. Apricate is derived from the Latin ‘apricari’, meaning to ‘bask in the Sun.’ It is not necessarily a reference to sunbathers, however. It seems that in Latin, it also referred to the concept of being ‘warmed’ by the sun – or, indeed, simply being ‘exposed’ to it. The Latin ‘apricus’ simply means to ‘expose’.

Why This Word:

There are still a few weeks of summer left in the Northern hemisphere – and still a chance to bronze one’s skin with ample aprication.

It is also quite an interesting comment on the evolutionary choices made in the English language that we have chosen the word ‘tan’ to describe the act of sunbathing rather than apricate. After all – the concept of ‘tanning’ relates to the craft of turning hide into leather – whereas apricate simply means to bask in the sun. Can it be that the language has chosen to pass judgement on those who would tan – and has forgotten those who merely apricate altogether??

How to use this word:

My father tans. He does not apricate. Despite all of the health warnings, he still regularly lies in the back garden covered in oil attempting to trap the rays of the sun within his skin. If he were an apricator, however, I suspect that he would lie in the garden with a book and a tall glass of lemonade and ignore the ticking and toking of the clock. A good 21st century use of the word apricate, it seems to me, is to bask in the warmth of the sun. And if you should get a colour – so be it. So feel free to use apricate – and maybe it can have its linguistic day in the sun … (apologies for that pun …)


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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