• entrepot •
Pronunciation: ahn-trê-po • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A temporary storehouse or group of storehouses for goods. 2. A distribution center, a place where goods are shipped or otherwise brought for distribution elsewhere, generally duty-free.
Notes: Today's Good Word is so newly arrived from French, it hasn't had time to take off its hat: it is usually spelled entrepôt. We took the hat off the head word for technical reasons. Look out for the folk etymological variant, entreport. It hasn't arrived yet, but it has been spotted in older publications.
In Play: Today's Good Word usually refers to a port or ports: "Historically, England has been the entrepôt of trade between the continent and the Americas." But why stop here? "Detroit in the 60s and 70s was the entrepôt of soul music."
Word History: Today's word obviously comes from French. It is the noun for the verb entreposer "to store", a compound derivation made up of entre "among" + poser "to place". This word derived from Latin interponere, interposui "to place between/among" from Latin inter "among, between" + ponere, posui "to put, place". Ponere is believed to be the remnants of an old compound (a)po-sinere "to leave off" comprising apo- "off, away" + sinere "to leave", of obscure origins. Apo went on to become English off and of. Ponere, posui went into the making of many Latin words borrowed by English, including position, pose, component, and compose. (Today's Good Word was recommended by one of the Good Word's excellent editors, Mary Jane Stoneburg of Lewisburg.)