Rentier

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Dr. Goodword
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Rentier

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:20 pm

• rentier •


Pronunciation: rahn-tyay Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A person of independent means, someone living on the income from investments.

Notes: No, this isn't simply the French pronunciation of renter. It is a completely different French word that has retained its French pronunciation from 1798 to this day.

In Play: The source of rentiers' wealth is no longer a concern; it may be earned or inherited: "Ty Kuhn was a wealthy rentier who retired early to spend more time with hit family". Rentiers are often considered the 'idle class' by workers: "The working-class has every reason to complain that they are paying heavy taxes to support idle rentiers who had invested in the national debt."

Word History: This IS the French word rentier "person of independent means", used in English without permission. The French word is based on rendre "give back, render", which English borrowed from Old French as render. Old French inherited this word from Vulgar (Street) Latin rendere from Classical Latin reddere "give back, return, restore". The nasalization is probably the due to the influence of this word's antonym prendere "to take". Reddere is a combination of re- "back, again" + dare "to give" (do "1st person singular", das "2nd", dat "3rd"). This verb is at the bottom of the English borrowings donor, dowry, endow, Dorothy, and Theodore. It came down to Latin from PIE do- "give", also the source of Russian dat' "to give", Armenian tam "to give", Welsh dawn "gift", and Lithuanian duoti "to give". (Today's gratitude is owed George Kovac, wordmaster par excellence, for today's garden path Good Word.)
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Slava
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Re: Rentier

Postby Slava » Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:38 pm

Of course, given their exaggerated incomes, the rentiers get to live in the rentier parts of town, too. (More rent-y, get it? Nudge, nudge.)

As for rendering, as in unto Caesar, how did it come to be removing fat from meat?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

David Myer
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Re: Rentier

Postby David Myer » Fri Jun 25, 2021 3:20 am

I'm glad you are not my Dad, Slava! Dad jokes like that would have me permanently groaning! :D

But this rentier word is a new one for me. And to think I always saw myself as a gentleman of leisure. And all along, I was a rentier.

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Rentier

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:06 pm

Around here we call them "SCROANERS'
a combination of GROAN and SCREECH .
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

George Kovac
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Re: Rentier

Postby George Kovac » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:13 pm

Add a little French flavoring to our English vocabulary and we experience different tastes. A rentier may be a jerk or a scoundrel, but “rentier” sounds elegant, amusingly pretentious and, given the right example, almost excusable. (“nuance” after all, is a French concept.)

A rentier may be lazy and undeserving, but, hey, maybe he or she is an otherwise likable person who was just born lucky, and wouldn’t we all enjoy being lucky? Can you really hate a man-child like California’s Prince Harry, late of Sussex?

So let’s take “rentier’s” more “Englishy” near-synonym: “rent-seeker.” There is no nuance to that word. We properly despise all rent seekers—they are unredeemed cynical cads, enabled by the cynical lobbyists they hire.

But choosing a word that flaunts its French provenance does not necessarily result in a kinder, gentler or more nuanced spin. Take the word “bourgeois” in the phrase “bourgeois values.” Strip away the Marxist vapors surrounding “bourgeois values,” and the words still stink. Think of Madame Bovary, a tragedy that lacks a tragic heroine. Ah, but let’s call the concept by its more Englishy (or American) name: “middle class values.” That is as American as cherry pie, and is the unapologetic aspiration of voters and the politicians (many of them cynical cads) who cater to them.
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

David Myer
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Re: Rentier

Postby David Myer » Sat Jun 26, 2021 7:21 am

George wrote:
A rentier may be lazy and undeserving, but, hey, maybe he or she is an otherwise likable person who was just born lucky, and wouldn’t we all enjoy being lucky?
Well, having nominated myself as a rentier, I suppose I have to defend rentiers generally! In my case, lazy and undeserving are certainly fair comments, but you don't have to be born lucky. In my case I have become a rentier only in my old age. The Good Doctor's suggestion is that it is someone who lives off his investments, but surely there isn't much difference between savings and investments? I mean most people invest their savings and earn income from them, don't they?

I think though that I might return to my previous state of "retired, now gentleman of leisure". :D


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