Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4512
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:11 am

• aberrant •

Pronunciation: æb-êr-ênt, ê-ber-ênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Deviating from the norm, abnormal, negatively anomalous.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes from a verb, aberrate, which is slowly fading into the past. It leaves behind a rich family of derivations, though, including today's word with its two nouns aberrance and aberrancy, and an adverb aberrantly. Two other offspring, aberrated and aberration, are also still around. The accent originally fell on the second syllable, [ê-ber-ênt], a pronunciation still alive in the UK. In the US today, however, accent has migrated to the initial syllable: [æb-êr-ênt]. Don't forget: one B, two Rs.

In Play: Today's word usually bears a slightly negative connotation; aberrance is an undesirable departure from the normal: "Glen maintains an aberrant interpretation of traffic signs as suggestions rather than rules." It requires apologies like this: "In today's world there is nothing aberrant in a grandfather's learning how to use a computer from his four-year-old grandson."

Word History: The verb from which today's Good Word derives, aberrate, came from Latin aberratus "strayed", the past participle of aberarre "to wander away, go astray". This verb comprises ab "(away) from" + errare "to wander, to stray". Errare came into Old French as errere "go astray, be in error", a word English borrowed as err "make a mistake". The semantically related noun, error, however, was taken directly from Latin error "wandering off, making a mistake". In Old English the same word that gave Latin errare turned up as ierre "angry". Today that word is ire. Apparently our ancestors considered losing our temper a matter of losing our normal way, wandering off from our senses. (Of course, it is not at all aberrant of us to thank the mysterious Klimt, an active Lexiterian in the Alpha Agora, for suggesting today's Good Word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena


Postby MTC » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:14 am

If we are charged with being aberrant, errant, errabund, erratic and erroneous our response should unerringly be: "Errare humanum est." (To err is human.)

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5312
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby Slava » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:08 pm

Errabund is a new on me. Thanks.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests