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Behoove

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Behoove

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:54 pm

• behoove •


Pronunciation: bee-huvHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: No, this isn't what the blacksmith does. In fact, this word has two meanings completely unrelated to trotters. 1. To be appropriate for, to oblige, to morally require. 2. To benefit, to be beneficial.

Notes: Today's Good Word is used mostly in a crystallized phrase, "It behooves X to . . . ." In this respect, it resembles a near synonym, incumbent, which is used almost exclusively in the phrase "It is incumbent upon X to . . . ." So, if we are behooved to improve our speech as much as possible, it is incumbent upon us to do so, as well. Anything behooveful is beneficial, as honesty is behooveful in most cases. In parts of Britain, you have the option of ignoring one of the Os and write behove.

In Play: At this point, it behooves me to offer a few examples of today's word: "We are all behooved to behave rationally now that Mr. Chance has passed away and devise a fair way to determine who gets his parking space." That is, it is incumbent on everyone to behave rationally. It would seem to behoove most teenagers, however, to behave as rebelliously as possible.

Word History: Today's word is an English original from Old English behofian from a Germanic compound bi-hof "obligation." The original root meant "grasp, seize", similar to the ligature (binding) implied in the word obligation. In the Germanic languages it went on to indicate possession in such words as have. In Latin it appears in capere "to seize". This verb's past participle, captus, underlies English capture and captive. In Old French this verb became cachier "to chase", a verb English reworked into catch. (It now behooves us all to thank Loren Baldwin for suggesting today's rather unusual Good Word.)
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Re: Behoove

Postby damoge » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:26 pm

Doesn't behoove carry a sense of "it is to your benefit" to do such and such, whereas incumbent seems to be more "this will weigh upon you until/unless you do such and such?
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Re: Behoove

Postby Slava » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:57 pm

damoge wrote:Doesn't behoove carry a sense of "it is to your benefit" to do such and such, whereas incumbent seems to be more "this will weigh upon you until/unless you do such and such?

Behoove does, at times, carry the sense you mention. I expect it is more often than not what people mean. But it doesn't have to, as far as I can tell.

"It behooves the jury to take all aspects of the law into consideration." To me, that means it is expected of them, without any personal or collective benefit.

In this sense, behoove and incumbent can perhaps be synonyms. "It is incumbent upon the jury...."

Other meanings of incumbent pose problems, though. For one, you can be the incumbent, but you cannot be the behoove.
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Re: Behoove

Postby damoge » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:34 am

Other meanings of incumbent pose problems, though. For one, you can be the incumbent, but you cannot be the behoove.[/quote]


Thanks for the giggle with which to end the day!
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Re: Behoove

Postby gailr » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:11 pm

On behalf of the board, it behooves us to appreciate your joke, Slava.
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Re: Behoove

Postby damoge » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:23 pm

can one be the behoover? if so, does that mean you have to be plugged in?
AHhhhhhh stofzuiger again!!
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