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PREDICATE

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PREDICATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:50 pm

• predicate •


Pronunciation: pred-ê- kayt, -kêt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, Noun

Meaning: 1. (Verb) To base, establish, or found. 2. (Verb) To assert, state, or affirm. 3. (Noun) That which is stated about the subject of a sentence, for example, in the sentence, "The man bit the dog", "bit the dog" is the predicate.

Notes: What unites all the meanings of today's Good Word is that it is what we say about something else. The noun accompanying today's Good Word is predication and the adjective is predicative. The interesting thing about this word is its relation to predicament. Predicament once referred to the class of all things which share the same predicate, about which the same thing may be said—its class. "This plant is in the same predicament with Avena strigosa," once made sense. How this word's meaning strayed so far off course is anyone's guess.

In Play: I love words that have two different meanings both of which we can fit in a sentence: "On what do you predicate (sense 1) your predication (sense 2) that the Earth is flat?" The first meaning seems to be the more popular one these days, though: "I predicate my assumption on past experience that Mom will be displeased with this."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from (where else?) Latin praedicatum "(what is) said of the subject", the past participle of praedicare "to say, assert, proclaim publicly". This word is made up of prae- "forth, before" + dicare "to proclaim", from stem of dicere "to speak, to say". The noun of this word lies beneath several Latin words English helped itself to, first and foremost, to dictio(n) "a saying, expression, word", which English borrowed as diction. Other words we see this root in, include dictionary, predict, and addict. The original word that Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European apparently meant "show" or "indicate" (there it is again!), for English inherited it directly as teach. We also see a variant in Latin digitus "finger", the ultimate indicator. This word didn't escape the English lexical net; we borrowed both digit and the adjective digital. (We can predicate our gratitude to Kay Summers upon her suggestion of today's very Good Word.)
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby call_copse » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:13 am

As a programmer, with some interest in philosophy, I am particularly familiar with this word. I guess I would see it as having a reasonably formal tone.

In programming a predicate would normally be seen as a condition under which execution path A would be taken, otherwise execution path B would occur. A simple enough idea, but there are many ways this is expressed in programming and some quite tricky concepts based upon predicates. In analytical philosophy the term is often used to examine reasoning.

I had not made the connection to predicament which is certainly an interesting one.

I'll be honest though, and perhaps this is my extreme familiarity with the word, but I struggle to see the difference between sense 1 and sense 2 as defined above. To my eyes they almost seem very slightly different shades of exactly the same thing - could anyone perhaps help with a further example?
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby MTC » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:12 am

I predicate the following examples:

Sense 1.) Computer programming is predicated on logic.
Sense 2.) Democritus predicated a world composed of atoms.
Sense 3.) Sentences have a subject and a predicate.

Can you make sense of these?
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby Audiendus » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:06 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:The interesting thing about this word is its relation to predicament. Predicament once referred to the class of all things which share the same predicate, about which the same thing may be said—its class. "This plant is in the same predicament with Avena strigosa," once made sense. How this word's meaning strayed so far off course is anyone's guess.

Perhaps it was via the idea "We're all in the same predicament" (we're all in the same imperfect human condition). Compare the idiom "in the same boat".
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:56 pm

or "Up the same creek without a paddle".
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:37 pm

An observation not predicated on today's word under discussion: I can still be amazed at the connectedness of today's electronic world. A guy asks a question in England and gets a quick answer from Los Angeles. Another from a different city in England chimes in as does a writer from the midwest, while I pick up the conversation in the deep south. And I remember almost every week we read comments from Tokyo and Australia. I love it!
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:14 pm

It does almost blow one's mind.
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:37 am

Yes, a spookily small world!
Be who you are and say what you feel in your heart. Because those that matter, don't mind. And those that mind, don't matter.
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Re: PREDICATE

Postby call_copse » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:34 am

MTC wrote:I predicate the following examples:

Sense 1.) Computer programming is predicated on logic.
Sense 2.) Democritus predicated a world composed of atoms.
Sense 3.) Sentences have a subject and a predicate.

Can you make sense of these?


Thanks, certainly this makes sense. I guess the verb to predicate can mean to suggest a predicate - this being a postulation. Otherwise you are saying this is the foundation of a particular field. I think that is what I was missing.
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