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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:31 pm

• abscond •

Pronunciation: êb-skahndHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: 1. To leave secretly, furtively, or quietly to avoid some sort of unpleasantness. 2. To hide oneself from view or scrutiny.

Notes: Although of Latin origin, the derivations of this word are strictly English: The person absconding is an absconder and absconding is both the adjective and noun. Abscondment, abscondence, even absconsion were tried for a while in the 17th century but were given up as quickly as they were taken up.

In Play: Abscond implies misbehavior, usually a specific crime specified by the prepositions with: "Fleetwood had safely tucked himself away in the jungles of Uruguay before the company realized he had absconded with $1 million of company funds." However, it can also imply a retreat to 'lie low' for whatever reason: "In the coldest weather ever known the mercury basely absconded into the bulb" (J. R. Lowell My Study Windows, 1870).

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Latin abscondere "to hide" from ab "away" + condere "to put". Latin ab shares an origin with English of and off. The same PIE preposition emerged in Greek as apo "away from", while in Russian the initial [a] was dropped, giving po "according to, along". Latin condere is itself a reduced compound originally based on con "with" and the root *dhe- "put, do", which also became English do. In initial word position, [dh] became [f] in Latin, so this root can be found in Latin facere "do, make", the source of fact, faction, factory, fashion, and many others. It also reduced itself to the suffixes -fy, found in specify and the -fic in prolific. (I cannot abscond without specifically thanking Annette McMullen for the fact that she suggested today's Good Word.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:46 pm

Interesting word and interesting definition. I related more with the "In Play" example given since I almost always use this word as if the word was the same as "steal". Never thought of it as meaning "to hide". Learn something new every day.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:49 pm

It was used on one of those cop shows last week.
An escaped convict had 'absconded', and his
whereabouts were unknown. Good word.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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