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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:28 pm

• germane •

Pronunciation: jêr-maynHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Relevant, pertinent, on point, related.

Notes: Today's Good Word looks a lot like German, but don't confuse the two. The noun for this adjective is germaneness; no one has yet dared to venture germanity. The adverb, germanely, has been used enough to make the dictionaries but not the Microsoft English spell-checker, which underlines it as a word not found.

In Play: Today's word indicates a relationship of any kind: "I for one think the size of the parking lot is very germane to the question of how many employees we hire." If the meaning of this word leans in any direction, it is toward a causal relationship: "Well, Lance, I don't quite see how your father's producing this film is germane to your receiving a role in it."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from Old French germain, a direct descendant of Latin germen "shoot (of a plant)". In English, it became a variant of german "genuine, real, having the same parents". This word is often used in compounds like brother-german "full brother", sister-german "full sister", as opposed to half-brothers and half-sisters. This is where germane gets its meaning of "truly related". It may be related to the name of the German people though that isn't clear. It is related to germ in the sense of the heart of a seed, the origin of an organism, and the verb germinate. (The idea for today's most germane Good Word germinated in the lexically fertile mind of the Grand Panjandrum of our Agora, Mark Bailey.)
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Postby MTC » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:29 pm

It appears no one has anything germane to say...

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Postby Slava » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:13 pm

MTC wrote:It appears no one has anything germane to say...

Sadly, the figments of ideas germinating in my head did not seem to be particularly germane.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:45 pm

I cannot germinate anything either.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:46 am

The Good Doctor mentions the word german which means blood related as in brothers-german. Why don't we say german brothers? This use of the word has always puzzled me. He only hints at its being a source of our word for the Deutsch people: Germans. Is there more about that to know?
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Postby misterdoe » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:50 pm

I always wondered about this word, since I know that Spanish hermano and Portuguese irmão both mean "brother," related :wink: to "germane."

Interesting, too, that the Spanish and Portuguese for "brother" come from Latin germen when the French word frére comes from a different Latin word, frater, the actual Latin word for "brother." :?

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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:25 am

At last! Someone with something germane to say! Checking consonants for clues is always a good idea. HeRMaNo, and G in Spanish can be an H equivalent.

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