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CONSUMMATE

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CONSUMMATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:03 pm

• consummate •

Pronunciation: kahn-sê-mêt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Perfect and complete in every respect; having all the necessary qualities. 2. Possessing supreme mastery or skill at doing something.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the adjective, which should not be confused with the verb consummate [kahn-sê-mayt], which differs only in the pronunciation of the last syllable, which has a bit more accent. Keep in mind that other derivations, such as the noun consummation, bear the meaning of the verb "to complete, carry out completely", rather than that of the adjective. The adjective has only an adverb, consummately; not even the potential noun consummateness is used in English.

In Play: We are doing something consummately when it can't be done any better, period: "Whom should I believe? Amos told me that Amanda Lynn is a consummate musician but Andy says she only plays the radio." We can use this word when we mean the best at absolutely anything: "Al Falfa played the consummate fool asking the boss for a raise the day after the lay-offs were announced."

Word History: Today's word comes from the past participle, consummatus of the Latin verb consummare "to complete", based on con "with" + summa "sum, total". Summa is related to the prefixes mentioned in our recent discussion of subdolous. Rather than from (s)up- "under, beneath", summa comes from (s)uper "over, above" with a suffix and a lot of wear and tear over the years. However, it started out as Proto-Indo-European super-bhw-o "being above" and a dozen or so changes and 2000 years later it turned up in Latin as summa. If you go to college, try to graduate summa cum laude "with highest honors".
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Postby Slava » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:36 am

Drat! I managed only Magna.

Interestingly, when I read the subject line I instinctively read it as the word presented, not the alternate. I wonder if that has any meaning.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:28 am

Sorry, but I've never heard this word used with either meaning here. I've always heard it used in the sense of what occurs on the wedding night. :oops: :shock: Oh, well.
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Postby mikespeir » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:45 am

I'd always thought that the proper pronunciation of the adjective was con-SUM-mate (accent on the second syllable).
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:11 pm

I've heard that too, Mike, but mostly the pronunciation given here. Hasn't everyone a number of times discovered words pronounced differently than we mentally pronounced them after discoving them through reading? And bamaboy, nowadays wedding is the consummation of an often long sex life! :)
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:49 pm

That's a good one.
I've heard them all at one time or another. A nurse
locally died last week, and she was referred to
as something like "a consummate giving person".
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:04 pm

Good point, Perry. I guess I'm just old school. I have to agree. Any more, the wedding often is the consummation of an already long sex life. :D I'd like to think the wedding is not the end of one!
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:51 am

Years ago when teaching, I'd run into an old student
who had married, and I'd say something like: "How's
Married life treating you"?. I'd get a great reply.
Today its just something like "OK", as if it's no
big deal. We live in an age of instant gratification
and don't look forward to things as much as we
used to. That, I think, also contributes to shortened
attention spans. Stamp Collecting, coin collecting,
model trains, etc., used to be great hobbies. Nowadays
one cannot give away old collections. I have two
friends in their 80's trying to do just that, and
we cannot find anyone to take the collections even
by just 'giving them away'.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Slava » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:27 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:Stamp Collecting, coin collecting, model trains, etc., used to be great hobbies. Nowadays one cannot give away old collections. I have two friends in their 80's trying to do just that, and we cannot find anyone to take the collections even by just 'giving them away'.
I'm rather off topic here but, as far as great hobbies go, I still believe in philately. If you want a good home for a collection, feel free to send it my way.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:45 am

I have first day of issue from Postal Commemorative
Society for at least 50 years. My friend has pages
upon pages, and books upon books of sheets,
blocks of four etc. We might consider that, if you
can give them a good home.

Do you have a place to will them for good use after
your demise? I know you're probably still a teenager
but they need to be 'cared' for.
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conSUMmate

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:22 pm

This is the original pronunciation (conSUMmate) which is still acceptable. I didn't include it because of laziness--didn't want to rerecord the sound file. I've never heard the word pronounced this way, but then, I'm live in the States.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:18 am

Interesting hobby! I'm not into philately, though. I have a Lionel train set I've had since I was a kid (complete with metal rails). Don't know the scale. I have to check on that. I also collected Mr. Potato Heads of all sizes (don't laugh, ya'll) until they took over a large portion of my den. My wife made me take them to the storage room. One of my grandsons collects coins and rocks. Funny what interests different people.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:27 pm

consummate KAHN-sê-mêt KAHN-sue-maet

President Harry Truman was very well read and had an enormous vocabulary. He was mostly self-taught. As a child and young man he had no peers who had nearly the education he had. Hence, he found out in later life that he didn't know standard pronunciations for the many of the words he knew.
While I don't pretend to President Truman’s level of education, I have the same problem he had. The words I don't pronounce with Southern/Texan drawl I usually pronounce by my own invention. There are several pronunciations rules I just cannot seem to come to terms with. I put the “t” in “often” and “soften”. One of my biggest problems is the schwa, “ə”. I understand the symbol “ê” intends the same sound. I personally call it the dead vowel. I believe we are, in our laziness, tending to greater use of this dead vowel in place of other very good vowel sounds. I pronounce today’s good word KAHN-sue-maet, whether it is the adjective discussed here or the verb.

There is a good rule for using the final “e” in a word. It is used to make the preceding vowel long. Think "hat" and "hate". For pronunciation purposes I move it just after the vowel it lengthens. In the case of consummate the standard pronunciation doesn’t follow this rule.

At least I don’t pronounce Cuba as KO-ber nor do I pahk the cah. For pecan I say pae-KAHN, close to the Spanish pronunciation. Pee-can, to me, is a chamber pot one puts under the bed if there is no indoor plumbing. I think I pronounce pecan the same way most Texans pronounce it. Some may say pee-KAHN.

This is just a note on my personal take on pronunciation. I am not trying to change anybody. I think diverse accents, whether regional or personal, make our language richer. I am comfortable with my pronouncing letters others treat as silent and in giving some life to my vowels.
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