A Watched Pot Never Ebulliates

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If no one has ever told you that a watched pot never ebulliates, that’s because it is a word rarely used. It means to send up bubbles by boiling. But a watched pot never boils will do.

Ebulliate is derived from the Latin ebullire.

Interestingly, the overflowing liquid is not ebulliate but ebullience. Ebullience is also an overflow of enthusiasm (as well as the water that splashes out of a pot).

Ebulliate’s cousin, ebullient, is a frequently used word, and it’s easy to use ebullient in a sentence:

  • I was ebullient when I found a definition of ebulliated, but all my friends quickly tired of me using the word.

Ebulliated can be found in the first and second editions of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary and in a few online dictionaries. However, I have been unable to locate an example of a text that uses the ebulliated, so perhaps it was created when a lexicographer accidentally substituted the “e” in ebullient with an “a.”

That would make it a ghost word, a word that only exists in reference books. Ghost words are often created accidentally as a dictionary is assembled (for examples of ghost words, check out this post).

Let’s go back to the boiling water for a moment. Ebulliate is when water boils over. But ebullition is the bubbles that form as the water reaches the boiling point.

 use ebullient in a sentence
An  ebullioscope

Finally, an ebullioscope is used to determine the boiling point of a liquid to determine how much alcohol a liquid contains. The procedure for doing so is known as ebullioscopy.

Suppose you plan to use ebulliated when playing Scrabble. In that case, it is worth a mere 11 Scrabble points according to this Scrabble Word Calculator. But according to iScrabble.net, ebulliated is not a valid Scrabble word.

Or, to use ebullient in another sentence—if someone challenges your use of ebulliated, you will feel deflated, not ebullient.

What is your favorite obscure word? Let us know in the comments.

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