Latin IS English!

July 15, 2009

More “Troublesome” Latin Coming into English (but only a fractional part)

The Word of the Day for July 15, 2009 is:

Word of the Day Image

fractious • \FRAK-shus\  • adjective

1 : tending to be troublesome : unruly
2 : quarrelsome, irritable

Example Sentence:

The class was fractious and uncontrollable when Mr. Douglas first took over as teacher, but he now has the students disciplined, focused, and ready to learn.

Did you know?

The Latin verb frangere (“to break or shatter) has many modern English relations. Dishes that are fragile can break easily. A person whose health is easily broken might be described as frail. A fraction is one of the many pieces into which a whole can be broken. But fraction also once meant “disharmony” or “discord” — that is, a “rupture in relations.” From this noun sense came the adjective fractious, meaning “unruly” or “quarrelsome.” Though the “disharmony” sense of the noun is now obsolete, fractious is still common today.

February 22, 2009

I’ll Not Be “Exorbitant” with Words Here

Word of the Day Image

exorbitant • \ig-ZOR-buh-tunt\ adjective

1 : not coming within the scope of the law
2 : exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity, quality, amount, or size

Example Sentence:

I asked what the rent was for the apartment, and my jaw dropped open when they quoted me an exorbitant sum.

Did you know?

The first use of “exorbitant” in English was “wandering or deviating from the normal or ordinary course.” That sense is now archaic, but it provides a hint as to the origins of “exorbitant”: the word derives from Late Latin “exorbitans,” the present participle of the verb “exorbitare,” meaning “to deviate.” “Exorbitare” in turn was formed by combining the prefix “ex-,” meaning “out of,” with the noun “orbita,” meaning “track of a wheel” or “rut.” (“Orbita” itself traces back to “orbis,” the Latin word for “disk” or hoop.”) In the 15th century “exorbitant” came to refer to something which fell outside of the normal or intended scope of the law. Eventually, it developed an extended sense as a synonym of “excessive.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

November 19, 2008

“Better Personal ‘Deportment,’ Please . . . or You May Be ‘Deported!'”

Word of the Day Image

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for November 19, 2008 is:

deportment • \dih-PORT-munt\  • noun
: the manner in which one conducts oneself : behavior

Example sentence:
The school expects students to dress in proper attire and maintain a respectful level of
deportment throughout the day.

Did you know?
Deportment evolved from the verb
“deport,” meaning “to behave especially in accord with a code,” which in turn came to us through Middle French from Latin “deportare,” meaning “to carry away.” (You may also know “deport” as a verb meaning “to send out of the country;” that sense is newer and is derived directly from Latin “deportare.”) “Deportment” can simply refer to one’s demeanor, or it can refer to behavior formed by breeding or training and often conforming to conventional rules of propriety: “Are you not gratified that I am so rapidly gaining correct ideas of female propriety and sedate deportment?” wrote 17-year-old Emily Dickinson to her brother Austin.

 

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