Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lying Beggars

In Latin, mendacium meant a lie, a falsehood. It led to a few English words that also refer to lack of truth.
• Mendacity is the tendency to lie or deceive; an obsolete version is mendation.
• A person with that quality is mendacious.
• The obsolete word mendaciloquence--a blend of mendacious and eloquent-- describes a skill at telling lies.
• Its practitioner is mendaciloquent.

We need to be careful not to confuse this root with another one that comes from the Latin mendicans, a beggar. That root led to
• mendicity: the practice or habit of begging; also mendicancy and mendication.
• mendiciary: appropriate to beggars.
• mendicable: able to be begged.
• mendicant: a member of any of the four Christian religious orders whose members originally lived solely on alms (Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Augustinian Hermits.)
• mendicate: to beg.

SIDEBAR: Signs that someone is lying

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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