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expenditure

Printable Version Pronunciation: ek-spen-dê-chUr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: The act of spending money, the money spent, or the thing the money is spent on.

Notes: This Good Word is the noun of the verb expend, created by the addition of the suffix -ure preceded by the semantically empty suffix -it. It is a synonym of the much simpler and stylistically less elegant expense. The active adjective is expensive, whose meaning has wandered a bit off course, while the passive adjective is expendable "which may be expended" or "unnecessary, dispensable".

In Play: Expenditures required for the conduct of business are called business expenses, not expenditures. However, if you would like to lift the level of your speech around the office, today's word will help: "The expenditures on chocolate ice cream in your department are simply not justifiable, Miss Concepción." But this word is just as useful around the house: "When my daughter asked me to increase her allowance, I countered by suggesting she reduce her expenditures."

Word History: You might think today's Good Word a captive of high finance, but it comes with a salmagundi of relatives including spider, pendant, spontaneous, penthouse and, believe it or not, pansy. The underlying verb expend comes from Latin expendere "to pay out", a verb made up of ex- "out" + pendere "to weigh". All these words originated from the Proto-Indo-European (s)pen- "to stretch, draw, spin". We find it with and without the initial Fickle S. It came to English with the S in spin, span, and spider. Without the [s] it turns up in Latin pendere "to weigh", a verb which devolved into French as penser "to think" (mentally weigh), Spanish and Portuguese pensar, and Italian pensare. The noun from this verb, pensée "thought, memento", was borrowed by Middle English as the name for pansies. (For a very small expenditure of time, Bill Dyson very thoughtfully suggested today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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