• apropos •
æ-prê-po • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective, Adverb, Preposition
Meaning: 1. [Adjective] Appropriate, fitting, relevant to. 2. [Adverb] By the way, along the same lines as. 3. [Preposition] Concerning, with regard to.
Notes: Today we have another partially integrated French word: the most common spelling is now anglicized (though some still spell it à propos) but the pronunciation still reflects French accent on the final syllable. The meaning is easy to remember if we associate it with a word from the same source, appropriate, since it is most often used in that sense.
In Play: As an adjective, today's word is a slightly elevated synonym of appropriate: "I thought Maud Lynn Dresser's red, white, and blue scarf was quite apropos for the Memorial Day parade today." As an adverb, it substitutes for the phrase along the same lines as: "Apropos (your last remark), I thought the parade was a bit too long this year." As you can see from this last example, the adverbial and prepositional uses of this word overlap.
Word History: Today's Good Word came quite recently from the French prepositional phrase à propos, comprising à "to" (from Latin ad "[up] to") + propos "purpose". Propos comes from propositus "intended", the participle of proponere "to intend", also the ultimate source of English propose. This verb is made up of the prefix pro- "before" + ponere "to put". Ponere was an irregular verb, whose past participle was positus, which is where the S comes from in English words like propose and purpose. (I think it quite apropos at this point to thank Janie Ramey for suggesting today's very Good Word.)
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