Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

Countervail

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

Countervail

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:49 pm

• countervail •


Pronunciation: kaun-têr-vayl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To offset, to counterbalance, to compensate, to be of equal force or weight on the contrary side, to bring into balance. 2. To be of equal value.

Notes: If you cannot prevail (win), you want to at least countervail (tie). Sometimes a tie is a good thing; countervailing customs duties are duties imposed by one country to offset and balance duties imposed by the other country. The noun, like that of prevail, prevalence, is countervalence, and the adjective is countervalent, despite the major dictionaries' reluctance to list these words. Of course, you may use countervailing as both the adjective or noun, as the same dictionaries prescribe.

In Play: When I think of this word I mentally picture old-fashioned scales, like those the statue of Lady Justice holds: "The guy who crashed into Lydia Potts's car offered to countervail her loss by buying her a new one." Of course, countervalence is in the eye of the beholder: "The boss promises countervailing benefits to the salary cuts, things like new water fountains and nonskid stair steps."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a complex word comprising counter "opposing" + -vail from Old French valoir "be worthy, of value". French inherited the latter word from Latin valere "be strong, be well", a word whose root shows up in the English borrowed word valiant. Old Germanic had a word wald or walt which meant "power", but it remains only in personal names like Gruenwald and Oswald. The Proto-Indo-European word that went into the making of valere became wealdan "to rule" in Old English. Today that word is wield. Finally, this PIE word made a big impression on Russian. In Russian, after undergoing metathesis, it emerged as vlast' "power, force", and in the names Vladimir "rule the world" and Vladivostok "rule the East". (I am unsure of what would countervail forgetting to thank Jeremy Busch, a Grand Panjandrum in the Alpha Agora, for suggesting today's word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3571
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Countervail

Postby MTC » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:37 am

"Vladimir 'rule the world'," now Putin's name makes perfect sense. Luckily for the rest of the world, the U.S. is a countervailing force.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Countervail

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:37 am

Excellent word.
Isn't there an English word 'weald'?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3492
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: weald/wold

Postby Audiendus » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:16 am

LukeJavan8 wrote:Isn't there an English word 'weald'?

Yes. When spelled with a capital W, it refers to the area in south-eastern England between the ridges of the North Downs and South Downs; see the wikipedia article here. Generally, both weald and wold mean an area of grassland or (formerly) woodland or forest, from the German Wald meaning "forest". (It seems, however, that wood is not derived from Wald.)

I am not sure of the connection (if any) between Wald (forest) and the Old Germanic wald (power). Dr Goodword mentions Gruenwald (or Grünwald) and Oswald; I think the former comes from the "forest" meaning (green forest), and the latter from "power".
Audiendus
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 588
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:08 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Countervail

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:38 pm

So the Cotswalds (if I spelled it correctly)
has some connection as well. Thanks for the answer.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3492
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Countervail

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:18 pm

Then of course there are chemical valences, which I guess are values or weights given to the atoms, as in +2 valences are metals.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2414
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests