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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:18 pm

• alienate •

Pronunciation: ay-li-ê-nayt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To cause to become indifferent, unfriendly, to disaffect, to make someone not want to associate with you. 2. To turn away, to divert, to make someone feel as if they don't belong. 3. (Law) To transfer ownership.

Notes: Alienate should mean "to make someone an alien". It doesn't mean exactly that, but it almost does: it means to make someone feel as though they were an alien. The abstract noun for this verb is alienation and the personal noun, alienator. The adjective most often used is the participle, alienating, though alienative is still around (if not in my spellchecker.)

In Play: The first sense of today's Good Word is simply "to cause disaffection": "You don't think reducing the lunch break to 15 minutes will alienate our workers?" The next sense of this word is "to turn away", as to turn away voters in an election: "His support of the toxic waste plant alienated many of the voters in Jerry Mander's district."

Word History: Today's Good Word is taken from Latin alienatus, the past participle of alienare "to make another's, estrange" from alienus "of another, not one's own" from alius "other". The feminine accusative plural of this word is alias "otherwise, at another time". It was used as an adverb in Latin, but came to English as a noun. That is it we see in alarm, from Italian allarme, originally All'arme! "To arms!" The all(a) is a reduction of ad "to" + illa "that". Alligator, too, comes from this same root. It was borrowed from Spanish el lagarto "the lizard". The Spanish word for "the" was derived from the Latin word for "that", ille, just as English the comes from that. (Lest we alienate the affections of Fay Poole, who suggested today's Good Word, let's thank her now for her service.)
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Perry Lassiter
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Re: Alienate

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:37 pm

Sometimes, glancing at a sentence out of context, I have to stop and think, "which alien?" The ones from outer space or from across the border. I have sometimes read a headline as having one meaning and found the lead to jerk me back to reality!

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Re: Alienate

Postby MTC » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:51 am

Alienation most often arises in the law as a synonym for transfer, as the Doc states. However, much less frequently it arises in the tort of Alienation of Affection which only a few States recognize.

"At common law, alienation of affections is a tort action brought by a deserted spouse against a third party alleged to be responsible for the failure of the marriage. The defendant in an alienation of affections suit is typically an adulterous spouse's lover, although family members, counselors and therapists or clergy members who have advised a spouse to seek divorce have also been sued for alienation of affections."

North Carolina is a state which still recognizes a tort many consider an anachronism:

"One North Carolina divorce attorney has written: 'Adultery is not uncommon, but an alienation-of-affection case just polarizes everyone and devastates everything in its path including the children and both spouses....The world has changed. Women are no longer viewed as property. Alienation-of-affection is something that dates way, way back, and if there was ever a law that needed to be removed, this is it.'[10]"

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Re: Alienate

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:31 pm

"There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who
is alien".
-Robt.L. Stevenson
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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