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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:18 am

• colligate •

Pronunciation: kah-lê-gayt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To tie or bind all together. 2. To find a principle that explains several things previously thought to be unrelated, to pull every relevant fact together in a single explanation.

Notes: The noun for today's word is, expectably, colligation. Several adjectives are available, including colligate itself, pronounced a bit differently [kah-lê-gêt] "tied together" (hear it). Colligable is a passive adjective meaning "capable of being colligated".

In Play: We have seldom seen or heard today's Good Word used in its literal sense since the 17th century, but that doesn't preclude its use today: "The necklace comprised a perfect set of pearls colligated by a silk thread." Today colligate is used to refer to abstract tying together: "The evidence in the murder case was substantial, but the prosecutor could not colligate it so that it pointed to a single suspect."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin colligare "tie or bind together", based on con "(together) with" + ligare "to tie, bind". If you find it remindful of collect, you have good reason. The past participle of colligere is collectus, which English appropriated as an entirely different word. Latin prefixes ending on N like con underwent a process called 'assimilation', that is to say, they took on the traits of the consonant following them. When added to words beginning on L and R, they became identical, as in correct and collect. Before consonants formed with the lips, like M, B, and P, N became M, as in comment, combine, and compute. The prefix in- behaved similarly, giving us words like impolite, irreverent, and illegal. (Thank you, David Ross, for colligating all the knowledge that led you to today's Good Word.)
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Postby wurdpurrson » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:46 am

So. Does collage have anything to do with this root word?

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Postby MTC » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:56 am

In answer to wurdpurrson, according to Etymoline:

collage (n.)
1919, from French collage "a pasting," from Old French coller "to glue," from Greek kolla "glue." Earliest reference is in Wyndham Lewis.

Give credit to the Greeks this time.

Despite the different origins of colligate and collage their meanings are related. Artists colligate "found objects" into a collage. I love collage and assemblage which combine apparently disimilar objects into a single aesthetic whole. To make art from detritus is true salvation.

Our brains colligate by finding the underlying principle or unity in disparate things. Like a falling apple and the motion of the moon, for instance. Or lodestones and lightning.

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Postby wurdpurrson » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:58 pm

Thanks for all of the interesting information, and for such a complete answer to an idle wondering.

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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:52 pm

Colligate is a new word to me. Scientists and mathematicians are constantly looking for a common link that will unify a discipline or the whole of reality. I have been told string theory is the latest such attempt. I only know as much about string theory as Sheldon explains to Penny on the TV comedy, "The Big Bang Theory". I understand the big bang theory a little better than I understand string theory. Both of these theories are an attempt to colligate knowledge.

Theologians are happy about the big bang theory because it seems compatible with creation theology. I advise theologians to keep a respectable distance from all scientific theories. There is no telling when another E = MC² (Einstein's not Mariah Carey's) will come along and upset the apple cart. Wasn't Newton's apple supposed to unify knowledge?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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