• adjure •
Pronunciation: ê-jur • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: 1. To urge earnestly, solemnly, to beseech or exhort powerfully. 2. To bind under oath before God or under penalty of some punishment or curse.
Notes: We seem to have our choice of abstract nouns that fit this verb, adjurement and adjuration. (My spellchecker prefers the latter.) We also have a choice of personal nouns, adjuror or adjurer. Apparently, English speakers haven't decided which way this word should be spelled, no doubt, because it is so seldom used.
In Play: This word is usually associated with religion and the judiciary: "Jesus adjured us to treat others as we would be treated by them." However, it may be used outside these subject areas: "My mother repeatedly adjured me to be kind to others and learn how to control my temper."
Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Latin adiurare "confirm by oath" based on ad "(up) to" + iurare "to swear". The latter word is based on the noun ius, iuris "law, right, court", whence English jurist. Latin inherited the word from Proto-Indo-European yewes- "law", which went into the making of many Latin words that English borrowed besides today's: jury, injury, perjury, and jurisdictions, to mention just a few. It seems to have impacted only Latin. (Now I adjure all who are reading this to thank Jeremy Busch, a Grand Panjandrum in the Alpha Agora, for submitting today's rare Good Word.)