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Use of 'attend'

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Use of 'attend'

Postby Ferrus » Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:28 am

Apologies for another thread of this nature, but I have been reading Alan Clark's diaries (a minister in the 1980's, and an aristocrat) and he uses 'attend' in a peculiar way:

'But this embaressment was founded not in the unease with which one attends on the ritualised and the synthetic...'

He seems to be using it to mean 'applys to' which is not in any definition I have seen.

Any alternative ideas?
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Postby skinem » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:34 am

I've seen it and heard it used this way, but not sure which of the many definitions really apply...perhaps definition #2.

at·tend

VERB:
at·tend·ed , at·tend·ing , at·tends
VERB:
tr.

1. To be present at: attended class.
2. To accompany as a circumstance or follow as a result: The speech was attended by wild applause.
3.
1. To accompany or wait upon as a companion or servant.
2. To take care of (a sick person, for example). See Synonyms at tend 2.
4. To take charge of: They attended our affairs during our absence.
5. To listen to; heed: attended my every word.
6. Archaic To wait for; expect.

VERB:
intr.

1. To be present.
2. To take care; give attention: We'll attend to that problem later.
3. To apply or direct oneself: attended to their business.
4. To pay attention: attended disinterestedly to the debate.
5. To remain ready to serve; wait.
6. Obsolete To delay or wait.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English attenden, from Old French atendre, from Latin attendere, to heed : ad-, ad- + tendere, to stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots
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Postby sluggo » Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:23 pm

-or intransitive #3 as "apply"?

In contemporary French attendre usually still means "to wait", implying a dependent relationship: ("We're waiting for clearance to ...."), and of course in a restaurant you're dependent on the waiter. Or put another way, our potential action hangs on what we're waiting for, thus we've attached (hung) an aspect to it (German uses literally the same: es hängt an...). So the concept stretches, easily or not, to a sort of adjectival barnacle.

Still, present usage does seem just a bit pretentious...
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Postby Ferrus » Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:39 pm

skinem wrote:I've seen it and heard it used this way, but not sure which of the many definitions really apply...perhaps definition #2.

In what context?

Interesting explaination with the 'hangs on'.
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Postby Perry » Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:33 pm

adjectival barnacle


Wonderful description.
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Postby skinem » Mon Dec 25, 2006 4:18 pm

Ferrus wrote:
skinem wrote:I've seen it and heard it used this way, but not sure which of the many definitions really apply...perhaps definition #2.

In what context?

Interesting explaination with the 'hangs on'.


A fellow teacher used to describe his classes "attending wisdom upon the unwanting." (Sometimes it was "upon the undeserving" when he was feeling a little less charitable.) I think this is the same type of usage you quoted.
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