Two Words: Invidious & Hidebound

Two Words - Invidious and Hidebound

Many believe the word “invidious” is a close cousin of envy, and it is in some contexts.  But invidious in modern use has come closer to unpleasant, objectionable, arbitrary, irrational, or capricious, and these words have a more negative connotation.  

Invidious has a Latin feel because of the “us” ending, which originates with Latin.  The origin of invidious is Invidia, Latin for envy.  In modern use, it goes back to the early 1600s.

“John made invidious choices with his college courses and got a degree with no job prospects.”

“Jane made invidious decisions with her selection of cars and regretted the resulting repair bills for years.”

“Chris quickly rose in the company because of his performance, but his success quickly drew invidious attention from his peers.”

Separator Black Fancy

When the word “hidebound” is applied to animals, it refers to those with poor health, thus having skin (hide) that clung to their skeleton.  The roots of the word are from agricultural or farming use.

When we refer to a hidebound human, it sometimes means stingy or miserly.  Similarly, it can refer to people who are set in their ways and inflexible when considering change.  A close cousin would be the concept of old-fashioned or ultraconservative.

“Joe is completely hidebound in his thinking about the new store layout, so we might as well think of a different approach.”

“My English teacher is hidebound when considering punctuation and I need a different way of checking my work to be sure it is correct.”

“George is so hidebound that he never considered going on a cruise because of his fear of water.”