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Suffer

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Suffer

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 14, 2013 10:42 pm

• suffer •


Pronunciation: sêf-êr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To undergo pain, injury, or anything unpleasant, as to suffer from a cold. 2. To endure, put up with, stand, as to suffer his in-laws with only the occasional grimace. 3. To permit, allow, as to suffer no hopes for promotion among her underlings.

Notes: I encounter the second and third meanings of today's Good Word only in my readings—and seldom there. They are slightly archaic, but this lends a kind of poeticity to the word. The second sense of the word is the only interpretation it has in the adjective sufferable "bearable", and in its negative partner, unsufferable. As for other relatives, it comes with two nouns, the personal, sufferer, and abstract action noun, suffering.

In Play: Suffer in the second sense above is heard most often with the object fools: "Do you suffer fools gladly, or tell them what you really think?" The King James version of the Bible cites Jesus in using the third sense of today's Good Word thus: " Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). The more modern translations render this passage with the much more prosaic word let: "Let the little children. . . ."

Word History: In Middle English today's word was suffren, borrowed from Old French sufrir. French inherited this word from Latin sufferre "to bear, endure, undergo", made up of sub "(from) under" + ferre "to carry". Latin inherited its verb directly from Proto-Indo-European bher- "carry, bear", which came to English as the verb bear. Other English words derived from this root include burden (that which is borne), bairn (child, that which was born), and bring, with the common suffix -ing, which caused the vowel in the stem to disappear. The [bh] consistently converts to [f] in Latin and Greek, hence Latin ferre. We see Greek pherne "dowry" (what a bride carries with her) in Medieval Latin paraphernalia "possessions of a married woman besides her dowry", based on the Greek parapherne from para "beyond" + pherne "dowry".
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Re: Suffer

Postby MTC » Tue May 14, 2013 11:39 pm

How long must we suffer without a WRENCH?
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Re: Suffer

Postby call_copse » Wed May 15, 2013 6:45 am

How long must we suffer without a vote?

I always assumed there was a connection between suffrage and suffer, I am dissuaded of this connection and see Latin suffragium (vote) as a separate origin of the term suffrage unrelated to sufferre. The etymology of suffragium seems uncertain.
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Re: Suffer

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed May 15, 2013 12:09 pm

Etym Online sez:
suffrage (n.)
late 14c., "prayers or pleas on behalf of another," from Old French suffrage (13c.), from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium "support, vote, right of voting," from suffragari "lend support, vote for someone," from sub "under" (see sub-) + fragor "crash, din, shouts (as of approval)," related to frangere "to break" (see fraction). The meaning "right to vote" is first found in the U.S. Constitution, 1787.

Related to breaking is a wrenching revelation.
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Re: Suffer

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 15, 2013 1:01 pm

Related to breaking is a wrenching revelation.

heh
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Suffer

Postby call_copse » Thu May 16, 2013 6:55 am

I am aware of the sub fragor etymology, but it is disputed - some go for an ankle bone explanation.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... agium.html

Either way suffering seems unrelated as I always used to think.
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Re: Suffer

Postby MTC » Thu May 16, 2013 11:28 am

Merriam-Webster lists four senses of "suffer," the most interesting of which is the primary sense:

1.) to come to a knowledge of (something) by living through it <willingly suffered hardships so that their children would have a better life>
Synonyms endure, feel, have, know, pass, see, suffer, sustain, taste, undergo, witness

So suffering is a way of knowledge in this sense, not merely
endurance. This definition of "suffer" has at least one Biblical antecedent in the Story of Job.
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Re: Suffer

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu May 16, 2013 1:53 pm

MW is a bit off I think. The example does not primarily illustrate gaining knowledge by suffering, so much as enduring a more difficult life with an end in mind, viz a better life for the kids. I have no doubt one would learn much in such a life, but not necessarily more. For example, I have known several LPN's who would undoubtably have learned more and eventually earned more had they earned their RN. But circumstances required them to earn money now, even if it was less money.

To partially ontradict myself, knowledge in the Bible is almost always experiential knowledge. To know God is not first to be doctrinally correct, but to obey (OT) and relate to Him positively in trust (NT). I've often iolustrated by saying I can describe to you how a car works in some detail, but if you see me approaching you vehicle with pliers and a WRENCH, make haste to stop me.
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