The Word-Hoard: Sybaritic



Fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent.


The Emperor , of the Emperor’s Notepad, suggested that it might be interesting to explore the origins of some of these words while we’re tossing them into the vault. “Sybaritic,” then, is an excellent starting place. Sybaris was a wealthy port city of the ancient world, settled by Greeks in southern Italy. The city became famous in its time for the opulent luxury and hedonism of its people.

Thus “sybaritic” and “sybarite” have survived as descriptors for excessive pleasure-seekers. Consider it as a more obscure alternative to “hedonistic.”

“Tedesco’s reputation was far-flung. Even among the Go-Captains, whose thoughts were rarely on such matters, Tedesco was known for his raiment, the foppish arrangement of his mantle of office and his bejeweled badges of authority. Tedesco was known too for his languid manner and his luxurious sybaritic living.”

– Cordwainer Smith, “Golden the Ship Was – Oh! Oh! Oh!” (1959)


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