Machinations

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4859
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Contact:

Machinations

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:12 am

• machination •


Pronunciation: mæ-kê-ney-shên or mæ-shê-ney-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A devious scheme, a ploy, a trick.

Notes: The CH in today's word tends to be pronounced with the Greek [k] in Britain, but with the French [sh] in the US. The [k] is the older, more traditional pronunciation. Machination is the process noun from the verb machinate. A person who plots and schemes is a machinator. The stem of all members of this family reflects the same dual pronunciation found in the stem of today's word.

In Play: Even though the word contains machine, machinations are not at all machine-like, but are most human: "Major Miner manipulated his promotion by means of Byzantine machinations behind the scenes despite little combat experience." The capital of a country is usually the capital of machinations, since politics is probably impossible without intrigue and scheming.

Word History: Today's Good Word came from Latin machinatio(n) "mechanism, contrivance" from the verb machinare "to design, contrive," a verb based on the noun machina "device". Romans borrowed this word from Greek makhana, a dialectal variant of mekhane "machine". You are right to see an ancestor of our mechanics and mechanism in the Greek word. The original root, PIE magh- "be able, have the power to", also provided Russian moch' "can" (mogu "I can") and moshch' "power, might". It also ended up in Old English magan, the forerunner of today's auxiliary verb may, and both the auxiliary verb and noun might. Finally, the PIE root came to be in magic and magus, one of the Three Magi (priests) of the New Testament.
• The Good Dr. Goodword

George Kovac
Lexiterian
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:54 am
Location: Miami

Re: Machinations

Postby George Kovac » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:17 am

And let's not overlook one of the earliest examples of machination, deus ex machina
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 4049
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Machinations

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:06 pm

And of course today's great magus, Harry Potter.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----


Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 7 guests