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Indurate, Obdurate

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Indurate, Obdurate

Postby scw1217 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:40 pm

Indurate was word of the day the other morning over at Dictionary.com. But I was curious as your thoughts on the difference between indurate and obdurate, as they sound a lot alike to me.

Here are the definitions:

ob·du·rate Pronunciation[ob-doo-rit, -dyoo-]
–adjective
1. unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings; stubborn; unyielding.
2. stubbornly resistant to moral influence; persistently impenitent: an obdurate sinner.
[Origin: 1400–50; late ME obdurat < L obdūrātus (ptp. of obdūrāre to harden), equiv. to ob- ob- + dūr(us) hard + -ātus -ate1]


in·du·rate Pronunciation[v. in-doo-reyt, -dyoo-; adj. in-doo-rit, -dyoo-; in-door-it, -dyoor-] verb, -rat·ed, -rat·ing, adjective
–verb (used with object)
1. to make hard; harden, as rock, tissue, etc.: Cold indurates the soil.
2. to make callous, stubborn, or unfeeling: transgressions that indurate the heart.
3. to inure; accustom: to indurate oneself to privation and suffering.
4. to make enduring; confirm; establish: to indurate custom through practice.
–verb (used without object)
5. to become hard; harden.
6. to become established or confirmed.
–adjective
7. hardened; unfeeling; callous; inured.
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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:09 am

Hard to say.
It seems that as an adjective, they are synonyms. Obdurate does not have a verb form, as far as I can tell.

indurate
v. in·du·rat·ed, in·du·rat·ing, in·du·rates
v.tr.
1. To make hard; harden: soil that had been indurated by extremes of climate.
2. To inure, as to hardship or ridicule.
3. To make callous or obdurate: "It is the curse of revolutionary calamities to indurate the heart" Helen Maria Williams.
v.intr.
1. To grow hard; harden.
2. To become firmly fixed or established.
adj. (nd-rt, -dy-)
Hardened; obstinate; unfeeling
.
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Postby scw1217 » Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:32 pm

That's what I was reading of them. I had heard of obdurate but not indurate. Indurate gets flagged by my spellchecker!
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Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:15 am

It seems to me that "obdurate" relates to human qualities. The synonyms I have found are "hard hearted" and "obstinate"

"Indurate" on the other hand seems to relate more to physical qualities: "Extreme temperature indurates clay"
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Postby sluggo » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:14 am

Obdurate was a GWotD here, with Doc's usual entertaining etymology. Indurate would make a fine add for the future.

As we generally use a long A to denote the verb form and short for adjective, it looks to me that they actually would sound different. It appears indurate is most commonly used as a verb, hence a long A, where obdurate's an adjective.

[indurate gets a spell flag for me too, but then so does obdurate's. These things are obdurate.]
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Postby scw1217 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:16 am

Both great explanations and very helpful. Thanks!
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Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:10 am

Here is a contextual example from A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. The topic is possible ways of resolving the schism between Pope Clement in Avignon and Pope Boniface in Rome: "The Three Ways now proposed were, first, mutual abdication; second, if both popes continued obdurate, arbitration by a selected group; third, a General Council of the Church."

This usage seems consistent with both definition 1 and 2 above, and, given that the period of the pope and anti pope was the latter half of the 14th century and the first half of the 15th, also consistent with its entry into the language ("1400 - 50; late ME obdurat").

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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:21 am

Barbara Tuchman is a compelling writer. She has brought much history to life for me.
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