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Overween

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Overween

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:35 pm

• overween •


Pronunciation: o-vêr-weenHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Intransitive) To be conceited, egotistical, arrogant. 2. (Transitive) To have too high an opinion of, to overrate, to exaggerate the value or worth of.

Notes: The trick in using today's Good Word is not to confuse the verb underlying it, ween "to think, suppose, consider", with wean "to stop breast-feeding". These two verbs are not related. Ween is now archaic in most dialects of English, leaving us with only overween.

In Play: This word is probably used today most often as a present participle or adjective: "That overweening Sue Persillias thinks herself God's gift to men." However, the basic verb is still available, so let's use it: "Sue certainly overweens if she thinks that she can conquer Phil Anders."

Word History: Though archaic today, ween came from a Common Germanic verb that we find in Old English wénan "think, consider", Dutch wanen "to fancy, think", German wähnen "to suppose (wrongly), imagine". The same root is visible in Old English wyscan "to desire, hope for", now Modern English wish, without the Fickle N we see in its German cousin Wunsch. In Latin it emerged as ven-, most starkly visible in the name of the Roman goddess of love, Venus. The same root is visible in venom, which originally referred to a love potion. The underlying Proto-Indo-European root wen- meant "to desire, strive for", only a short hop from the Latin word for "to hunt", venare. Since deer was the most prized beast hunted in times gone by, it is logical that the French word for "deer meat", venaison, would be based on this verb. English, of course, borrowed this word as venison. (It would be overweening of us to take all the credit for today's Good Word, so we will rightfully share credit with John Evans, who first suggested it.)
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Re: Overween

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:58 am

"Whether ween ye, that the scripture saith vainly, The spirit that dwelleth in you, coveteth to envy?" James 4:5, Wycliffe Bible

It was later changed for clarity since, I suppose, ween was going out of the vocabulary at that time.
"Whether ye guess [Whether ween ye], that the scripture saith vainly, The spirit that dwelleth in you, coveteth to envy?"

If you haven't a clue what this means, I didn't, the NIV may help:
"Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?"
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Overween

Postby MTC » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:11 am

Scottish Saying: "Dinna overwean, lassie, lest ye wee one overween."

On the now (wisely) discarded theory that inadequate breast feeding leads to a conceited child. It is thought that adherence to the saying left many Scottish babies awash in milk and lactiphobic, if not actually lactose intolerant.
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Re: Overween

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:43 am

Or those who wean the child until it is 8-9 years old. Curious.
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Re: Overween

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Obviously under-weaned.
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Re: Overween

Postby Slava » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:15 pm

Now we know how some people become weenies. :lol:
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: Overween

Postby MTC » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:23 pm

It's from the Apocrypha before we get too far down the road. Take it with a wee grain a salt, laddies and lassies.
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Re: Overween

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:45 pm

But doesn't quoting it on the Agora make it true? I for one trust everything you guys say. #crosses fingers
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