• enjoin •
Pronunciation: in-joyn • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, transitive
Meaning: 1. Serve with a legal injunction prohibiting some action or activity. 2. Prescribe, proscribe, or strongly urge someone to do or not do something.
Notes: This word corresponds to two nouns: injunction, a legal document proscribing some activity, and enjoinment, with both the legal and informal meaning. Injunct "to restrain by injunction" was back-derived from injunction. However, it produced an adjective, injunctive.
In Play: A bench warrant issued by a judge prohibiting some activity is an injunction: "Harold has received an injunction enjoining him from any more parties that spill out into the street." The verb is used less often informally, referring to an unenforceable, yet sometimes inescapable suggestion: "We have been enjoined by our son to attend his soccer game this afternoon."
Word History: Enjoin was borrowed from Old French enjoindre "impose (on), inflict; subject to" that French inherited from Latin injungere "to join onto, impose (a penalty or duty). The Latin word comprises in "in(to), on(to)" + jungere "to join". Latin inherited jungere, from PIE yeu(n)g-"to join" (the consonant Y was spelled J in Latin). Without the Fickle N, this word showed up in Sanskrit as yugam "yoke" and yogah "yoking, union", which English and other European languages borrowed as yoga. By the way, English yoke came from the same source; join was pinched from French. The word jugular, as in 'jugular vein', is based on Latin jugulum "collarbone", a diminutive of jugum, the Latin word for "yoke". Apparently, the Romans saw the collarbone as a little yoke.