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Borrowed from Latin aureatus (adorned or decorated with gold).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɔːɹiːət/
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: au‧re‧ate


aureate (comparative more aureate, superlative most aureate)

  1. Golden in color or shine.
  2. (rhetoric) Of language: characterized by the use of (excessively) ornamental or grandiose terms, often of Latin or French origin.
    • 1919, John Cooper Mendenhall, Aureate Terms: A Study in the Literary Diction of the Fifteenth Century, Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Print. Co., OCLC 1741104, page 12:
      It may, then, be said that aureate terms were those new words, chiefly Romance or Latinical in origin, continually sought, under authority of criticism and the best writers, for a rich and expressive style in English, from about 1350 to about 1530.
    • 1996, Keith D. White, John Keats and the Loss of Romantic Innocence [Costerus, new series; vol. 107], Amsterdam; Atlanta, Ga.: Rodopi, →ISBN, page 94:
      In the only monograph on the subject, John Cooper Mendenhall describes aureate terms as "words designed to achieve sententiousness and sonorous ornamentation of style principally through their being new, rare, or uncommon, and approved by the critical opinion of their time." Since the time of Lydgate, who named these loan words and neologisms "aureate terms" to denote their linguistic gilding, Latin or Latinate words were considered the prime examples. However, readers who found aureate terms pretentious began to call them inkhorn and inkpot terms, both references to the receptacles scholars carried to hold ink.
    • 2002, Simon Horobin; Jeremy J. Smith, An Introduction to Middle English, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 73:
      Aureate vocabulary is derived largely from Latin, although some words have a French basis; it was devised as a 'high' or 'elevated' poetic diction used for special ceremonial or religious occasions. Perhaps the best-known practitioner of aureate diction in the late ME period was the poet John Lydgate (c. 1370–1449/1450), monk of Bury St Edmunds, court poet and self-styled disciple of Chaucer. Something of the flavour of Lydgate's aureate verse may be captured in the following extract from his A Balade in Commendation of Our Lady (a poem, incidentally, where Lydgate calls for aid from the auriat lycour of the muse Clio – Lydgate seems to have been the first English writer to use the term 'aureate').
    • 2015, Northrop Frye, Robert D. Denham, editor, Northrop Frye's Uncollected Prose, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, →ISBN, page 73:
      [] [Stephen] Hawes is the climax of the fifteenth-century kind of aureate diction: after him, nothing was possible but reaction, ridicule, and the creation of a new kind. We have so far tried to avoid defining the word "aureate," but it seems fair by now to describe it as a habitual use of terms which to those using them seemed "wonder nyce and straunge" [Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, bk. 2, l. 24].

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  1. vocative masculine singular of aureātus