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OBDURATE

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OBDURATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:38 pm

• obdurate •

Pronunciation: ahb-dyu-rêt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Intractable, unrepentant, adamantly and unshakably stubborn. 2. Stubbornly and unrepentantly mean or nasty.

Notes: Writers have done a lot of experimentation with the noun from this adjective. Obduracy, obdurateness, obdurance, and obduration have all been tried but obduracy seems to have emerged the favorite with obdurateness running a close second. You may also use this word as a verb if you pronounce it slightly differently: [ahb-dyu-rayt], that is, pronouncing the last syllable fully: "The treatment Cinderella received from her mom and stepsisters obdurated her against them forever."

In Play: Today's Good Word tends to turn up in certain phrases, like obdurate heart and obdurate sinner: "Basil, you obdurate sinner, I just saw you dealing from the bottom of the deck!" However, obduracy does not have to refer to stubborn sinfulness: "Mildred, why do you so obdurately oppose my taking the checkbook when I go out with the guys?"

Word History: Today's word comes from Late Latin obduratus, the past participle of obdurare "to harden," a verb based on the adjective durus "hard." Yes, the root of that word, dur- is also visible in the English borrowings endure and durable. Durus was originally PIE *deru-/doru- "solid, tree" which emerged as daru "wood" in Sanskrit, a word that devolved into Modern Hindi daru and Persian dâr. Elsewhere the stem underwent liquid metathesis (the [r] and the vowel switched places) so that in Serbian it emerges as drevo "tree, wood" while in English it evolved into both tree and true. Druid, by the way, is probably a reduction of a Celtic compound *dru-wid- "strong seer," where wid is a relative of the root in video and vision.
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Postby sluggo » Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:02 pm

First encountered:

And if you remain callous and obdurate, I
Shall perish as he did, and you will know why
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die,
"Oh willow tit willow tit willow"

W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado, 1885
Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots! Knife no one, fink!
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