Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.*
It's as true for words as for flowers. Full many a gorgeous word lies neglected in the dark recesses of the larger dictionaries when it could be bringing joy to the world.
But lustrum isn't one of them. Lustrum is much best left in the dark recesses.
It's heavy, pondorous, and pompous, and no one with the faintest sense of his own essential ridiculousness would ever let it fall from his lips.
What does it mean?
A lustrum is a period of five years.
And if there is anyone in the universe who says two lustra instead of a decade then you have my leave to pull faces at them.
Photo Sam Fentress
And I hope it stings.
Word Not To Use Today: lustrum. This word comes from a Latin word for a ceremony of purification, from lustrāre, to brighten or purify.
*That's from Thomas Grey's Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard.