Latin IS English!

April 20, 2008

“What is this ‘Word of the Day’ all about?”, cried the “petulant” young man.

petulant mp3

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for April 20, 2008 is:

petulant \PET-chuh-lunt\  • adjective
1 : insolent or rude in speech or behavior *2 : characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor : peevish

Example sentence:
“‘What is it all about?’ cried Dorian in his petulant way, flinging himself down on the sofa.” (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Did you know?
“Petulant” is one of many English words that are related to the Latin verb “petere,” which means “to go to,” “to attack,” “to seek,” or “to request.” “Petere” is a relative of the Latin adjective “petulans” (“impudent”), from which “petulant” was derived. Some other words with connections to “petere” are “compete” and “appetite.” “Competere,” the Late Latin precursor to “compete,” is a combination of the prefix “com-” and the verb “petere.” The joining of “ad-” and “petere” led to “appetere” (“to strive after”), and eventually to Latin “appetitus,” the source of our “appetite.” Additional descendants of “petere” are “petition,” “perpetual,” and “impetus.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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