Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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Postby William » Thu May 19, 2005 7:21 pm

Main Entry: 1re·cal·ci·trant Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: -nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin recalcitrant-, recalcitrans, from present participle of recalcitrare to be stubbornly disobedient, from Latin, to kick back, from re- + calcitrare to kick, from calc-, calx heel -- more at CALK
1 : obstinately defiant of authority or restraint : stubbornly disobedient <recalcitrant and dangerous heretics and obstructionists -- G.L.Kline> <a recalcitrant child> <call forth the forces of the Union to coerce recalcitrant states -- S.E.Morison & H.S.Commager>
2 a : difficult or impossible to handle or operate : UNMANAGEABLE <the materials in these fields are more complex and more recalcitrant than the simpler and more readily measurable phenomena of the languages -- Mortimer Graves> <the car had a recalcitrant gearshift lever -- M.M.Musselman> b : not responsive to treatment <many of these patients were suffering from recalcitrant forms of the disease -- Journal American Medical Association> c : RESISTANT -- usually used with to <this subject is recalcitrant both to observation and to experiment -- G.G.Simpson> <nothing perhaps is more recalcitrant to logical systematization than local custom -- G.H.Sabine>
synonym see UNRULY

I found this interesting discussion of the word "recalcitrant" and an apparently new word "incalcitrant".

Main Entry: cal·ci·um Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: kalsm
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): -s
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: New Latin, from Latin calc-, calx lime + New Latin -ium -- more at CHALK
1 : a silver-white rather soft bivalent metallic element of the alkaline-earth group that quickly tarnishes in air and when heated burns with a brilliant light, used chiefly in alloys and in various metallurgical processes, often as a scavenger, and never occurring native but very common in combination in certain minerals and rocks, especially as a carbonate (as in limestone), sulfate, or phosphate, in practically all natural waters, and in most animals and plants as an essential constituent -- symbol Ca; see ELEMENT table
2 a : a very strong white light source given by lime heated to incandescence in an oxyhydrogen flame -- compare LIMELIGHT b : the flame of acetylene gas generated by reaction of calcium carbide with water

In the etymology for the word "recalcitrant", MW unabridged indicates the latin root "calc" or "calx" means "heel".

In the etymology for the word "calcium" the same root appears but in this case MW indicates it means "lime".

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Postby Apoclima » Thu May 19, 2005 8:14 pm

Good discussion, William! (That is you, SR, right?)

The "re-" of recalcitrant is an "intensifier," and doesn't necessarily mean "again."

From Stephen Upton:

For those dozing at the back of the class:

English also has words beginning with re- which do not imply repetition. For example, rebukes, remarks, refuted, regrettably, rebuttals and regards.

So??? What does the prefix here mean in English?

The meaning of the re- prefix in rebuke, rebut, and refute is "back", and in regret, remark, and regard it is an intensifier.

So, "calcitrant*," if it were a word, would mean something like "kicking (against something [like authority])" and "recalcitrant" would mean something like "keeps on kicking alot (against authority)."

But there are still two possibilities for the meaning of "incalcitrant*."

in- in, into, on
You often see this prefix as im.
Used wtih verbal roots.
in- not; occasionally, beyond belief

It could mean "in the state of kicking (or defiance),"

or, the opposite, "not kicking (or defiant)."

As it is used in the article, it seems to mean the former.

Last edited by Apoclima on Fri May 20, 2005 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck

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Postby KatyBr » Fri May 20, 2005 12:53 am

So, William, are you now calcitrant? or calcified?



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Postby tcward » Fri May 20, 2005 1:13 pm

I can't help but think the word callous is also somehow related:

callous (adj.)
1578, "hardened," in the physical sense, from L. callosus "thick-skinned," from callum "hard skin." The figurative sense of "unfeeling" appeared in Eng. 1679.

That's pretty tough skin at the bottom of one's heel!


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Postby William » Fri May 20, 2005 4:23 pm

So, William, are you now calcitrant? or calcified?

Regrettably I cannot remember whether it is regarded as proper to remove the re from recalcitrant to form the word calcitrant, which if you recall from the ariticle, is a bound root. At least I think that's what it says. I will have to reread the article to reassure myself of this.

My querida esposa, though she considers me to be recalcitrant still, loves me anyway (at least that's what she says). Calcified? BULLSEYE!!!


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