Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Standing Affront


Sally asked about the word affront. It means to insult someone right to his or her face, to offer overt and clear provocation. It tracks back to a Latin phrase, ad frontem, which means “to the face.” Confront, to stand defiantly in one’s face, shares the same Latin root. Outfront used to be a synonym for confront, but it hasn’t been used in over 100 years as far as I know.

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Also this week, Ron Jolly asked if there was a connection between state and status. The answer is yes. Both are based on the Latin verb stare, to stand. We even speak of a person’s standing in the community, which is a form of status. Other words and combining forms sharing the root are estate, prostate, statue, stature, static (as opposed to dynamic), station, statistic ,-stat, -static, -statical, and stato-.

The following is a sample of –stat- words not based on the Latin stare: angustate, aristate, cristate, crustate, degustate, ecstatic, funestation, gestate, gustation, hastate, intestate, reforestation, and vastation.

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

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