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Tom is very panegyric while talking to his co-workers.

From What is a sentence for panegyric?

What's the meaning of this sentence? I have search the meaning of panegyric, but can't understand what it's saying here.

Can anyone post some sentences using the word panegyric to understand it?

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That answer is wrong. Panegyric is a noun. It cannot be used as an adjective. – Matt E. Эллен Sep 12 '12 at 12:54
And a panegyric is a paean of praise. Even using panegyrical (which is in ODO as the related adjective) is unlikely to be true of such a general sentence. – Andrew Leach Sep 12 '12 at 13:01
@MattЭллен The OED says that panegyric can be an adjective. – tchrist Sep 12 '12 at 13:04
I've never heard "panegyric" used as an adjective and thefreedictionary.com quotes three common dictionary, none of which give such usage. I suspect it's rare. Of course, "panegyric" is a pretty obscure word in general. – Jay Sep 12 '12 at 13:57
Despite the OED citations, 'panegyric' is not currently used as an adjective. Your newspaper editor or English teacher would cross it out with Ted ink. It doesn't mean what you want it to mean because it is ungrammatical. – Mitch Sep 14 '12 at 12:15
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Although panegyric is normally a noun, it can be used as an adjective as an alternate spelling of panegyrical, which is all that is happening here. It simply means laudatory. Per the OED:

Of the nature of a panegyric or eulogy; publicly or elaborately expressing praise or commendation; eulogistic, encomiastic, laudatory.

Citations for the shorter form of the adjective include:

  • A. 1631 Donne Litanie xxiii. Poems (1654) 344 ― In Panegyrique Allelujaes.
  • 1706 Maule Hist. Picts in Misc. Scot. I. 17 ― The panegyrick author after a sort doth show.
  • 1737 Pope Hor. Epist. ɪɪ. i. 405 ― I’m not used to panegyrick strains.
  • 1774 Mason Elegies i. Poems 46 ― Cautious I strike the panegyric string.

Here is an illustrative citation for the more verbose version of the adjective:

  • 1755 J. Shebbeare Lydia (1769) I. 405 ― A dead lord··is always to receive honourable interment and a panegyrical epitaph.

The word started showing up in English in the early 1600s, about a hundred years after it first appeared in French, whence it was borrowed from a Latinized version of the original Greek, πανηγυρικός, meaning fit for a public assembly or festival, from πανήγυρις.

The two noun senses in the OED are:

  1. A public speech or writing in praise of some person, thing, or achievement; a laudatory discourse, a formal or elaborate encomium or eulogy. Const. on, upon, formerly of.
  2. Elaborate praise; eulogy; laudation.

Here are several citations for the noun senses:

  • 1697 Potter Antiq. Greece ɪᴠ. viii. (1715) 227 ― The Company··were some‐times entertain’d with a Panegyrick upon the dead Person.
  • 1762 Goldsm. Cit. W. I. Pref. 5 ― In this season of panegyric, when scarce an author passes unpraised either by his friends or himself.
  • 1879 Froude Cæsar xxviii. 491 ― After Cato’s death Cicero published a panegyric upon him.
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Are there any more recent citations? Or is it now archaic? – Andrew Leach Sep 12 '12 at 13:17
I know, panegyric can be used as adjective. So what's the meaning of that sentence i posted? Also what would i do with citation? Can anyone please post some sentences using the word panegyric to understand it? – user26158 Sep 12 '12 at 13:19
@guru Your sentence means... Tom is very "publicly or elaborately expressing praise or commendation" while talking to his co-workers. – Andrew Leach Sep 12 '12 at 13:28
@AndrewLeach Neither, exactly. The sense that is marked obsolete is the one meaning “Of the nature of a general assembly.” The other version, whose sense I cite above, is not. Even panegyrical has no later citation than 1855; that doesn’t make it “archaic”. However, I would say that the spellings panegyrique and panegyrick are archaic, yes. Given two equivalent words ending in ‑ic and ‑ical, many writers prefer the shorter form, although those paid by the letter seem to elect the longer one. It seems unnecessary to me. – tchrist Sep 12 '12 at 13:34

Actually, panegyric doesn't really work at all in that sentence. It is clearly intended to mean laudatory or possibly upbeat; but the OED (the only source that says it can be used as an adjective) is clear that the adjectival form applies to speeches or the like, and means 'of the form of a eulogy'.

Edit: that 'answer' looks to me like a wheeze stumbled on by somebody often asked to give an example using a word he doesn't know. 'Tom is very X when talking to his coworkers'? Assuming X is an adjective, you've a very good chance of getting away with it; unfortunately, this time it backfired.

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