In a word: "blandishment"

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:


All of us are susceptible to persuasion, but some methods are more effective than others. We can be persuaded to write that memo or file that form by nagging or outright threats, but most of us would probably prefer blandishments.

Blandishment (pronounced BLAND-ish-ment) is from the Latin blandus, "smooth," and blandiri, "to flatter." It is the noun formed from blandish, "to flatter or coax."

Blandishment is gently flattering speech or cajolery. "Oh you big strong man, I bet you could knock out that memo in the blink of an eye." You should watch out for this kind of talk.

By extension, it has also come to mean anything that is pleasant or alluring.

Example: Ted Koppel, writing in The New York Times in 2006: "Indeed, in television news these days, the programs are being shaped to attract, most particularly, 18-to-34-year-old viewers. They, in turn, are presumed to be partly brain-dead — though not so insensible as to be unmoved by the blandishments of sponsors."

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad