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INVETERATE

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INVETERATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:51 pm

• inveterate •

Pronunciation: in-vet-êr-êt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Firmly established by survival over a long period of time, confirmed by longevity, deep-rooted. 2. Deeply ingrained, strongly habitual.

Notes: This word may be used as an adverb with the appropriate suffix, inveterately, and it offers two nouns to choose from: inveterateness and inveteracy. As with all adjectives ending on -ate, be careful not to accidentally replace this suffix with -ant.

In Play: This word originally referred to anything established by great age: "Melanie loved to spend lazy summer afternoons reading in the shade of the inveterate willow in her backyard." In people, it refers to a long-standing passion or habit: "Perry Winkle is an inveterate gardener who can tell you the common and botanical names and the eponyms of the names of all the flowers in his garden—and yours, too, probably."

Word History: Today's Good Word originated in Latin inveteratus "established, having aged", the past participle of inveterare "to grow old, endure". This verb consists of in- "cause to become" + veter "old". The original root of today's word was Proto-Indo-European wet- "year". It picked up the suffix -er in English and landed on our lips as wether "gelded ram" (perhaps originally "yearling"), as in bellwether (careful with the spelling). Latin veterinus "cattle", origin of our word veterinary, also came from this word since the attention of veterinarians generally falls on old animals. This root also underlies vitellus "calf", a word smoothed down to veal in Old French and then to the veau [vo] "calf" of Modern French. Quite the lexical sandpaper, French is.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:52 pm

Good Doctor: I really like this Good Word, expecially the word history. I am amused at your "Quite the lexical sandpaper, French is." You are much kinder to French than my university professor, Dr. H. An ancient man from Germany, he taught me a lot of linguistics under the guise of College German. When Dr. H. used a French word he always spat on the floor and muttered, "Bastard Latin."
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Postby Slava » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:31 pm

Then we have English, which could well be described as lexical flypaper.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:43 pm

Is "lexical flypaper" original with you Slava? That is a great description of what is a big part of our wonderful language. It is now in my English vocabulary.
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Postby Slava » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:00 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Is "lexical flypaper" original with you Slava? That is a great description of what is a big part of our wonderful language. It is now in my English vocabulary.

Gee, I don't really know if it is or not. I can't say I've ever seen it before, but I may have and it is part of my hidden memory. I was just riffing on the sandpaper analogy and the idea of chasing foreign words down alleys to mug them and drag them kicking and screaming into English.

I hope it is original, all be said and done. That would be neat-o cool beans.
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