Monday, September 29, 2014

Token

Terri asked about the word token, especially as it appears in a token of my esteem. The word originated in a wide cluster of related languages (Old Germanic, Old Scandinavian, Old English), and in each case it carried the meaning of teaching, demonstrating, or showing.

A token of my esteem is the equivalent of a sign or symbol of my esteem. The word token has gone through a number of meaning variations.

·      sign or evidence

·      characteristic mark

·      proof of authenticity

·      vestige or trace

·      omen or portent

·      password or badge

·      memorial keepsake

·      evidence of a right or privilege

·      medium of exchange in the shape of a coin

·      block of 250 sheets passed through a printing press

·      representative of an under-represented group

Some of the obsolete uses of token include a sign of the zodiac, the sign on an inn, the plague, an act demonstrating divine power, and a a sign meant to attract attention.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sist-ah!


Rita asked about the word element –sist–. It appears in a number of words that alter the basic meaning by adding different prefixes. The core comes from the Latin sistere, to cause to stand.

Let’s list some of the words that rely on this root, giving a rough and ready definition that shows how the stand meaning runs through all of them.

·      assist:  to stand by

·      consist:  to stand altogether

·      desist:  to stand down

·      insist:  to stand upon

·      persist:  to stand until completion

·      resist= to stand in place

·      subsist:  to stand firm


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Apprise me of the Appraisal


Recently, I’ve been pigging out on reruns of The Artful Detective, a detective series set in 19th century Toronto. In one episode, Detective Murdoch is sternly admonished by the Superintendent to “keep me appraised of developments." Unfortunately, bad word choice.

To appraise is to examine something in order to give an estimate of its value. It is a calculation of its worth or quality, often before selling it or putting it up for auction.  It tracks back to the Anglo-French appraiser. In turn that came from the Latin a-/ad- plus presser, to prize.

To apprise is to impart knowledge or information to someone. It may involve formal notification or an informal passing on of information. Apprise comes from the
French appris, the past participle of apprendre, to learn.

Words to the Wise, Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JSC9GX8

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fend



Vic asked about the word fend, as in, “to fend off evil.” It is a shortened version of defend, which came from the Latin defendere, to ward off or protect. The de- element means “away from oneself.” Fend also shows up in the phrase, “to fend for yourself”—to provide for yourself, to stand on your own

The word offend is a first cousin, since it shares the –fend– root. It came from the Latin offendere, to wrong or injure. The of-/ob- segment signifies “in the direction of.”

An obsolete word is forfend. It means to avert or prevent. It often showed up in the prayerful, “Heaven forfend” or “God forfend.” The for- prefix implied looking to the future.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.







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