Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 5347
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:15 pm

• kompromat •

Pronunciation: kahm-prê-mæt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Compromising material, material that could be used for extortion because it could damage someone's reputation.

Notes: This word has made it into very few dictionaries but it is creeping into journalese and pops up occasionally in the mainstream media. Merriam-Webster doesn't include the word but offers an article about why it isn't included. It has no derivational family yet.

In Play: This word comes up in 2018 as an explanation of the unexpected close relationship between Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. However, this word has applications around the house: "I do pretty much what my wife tells me to do because, after 40 years of marriage, she had a lot of kompromat on me."

Word History: This is an English copy of Russian kompromat, a blend of komprometírujushchij material "compromising material". Since both the Russian and English words for compromise come from the same source, let's examine the English version. Compromise was borrowed from Late Latin compromissus, the past participle of compromittere "to make a mutual promise". Compromittere is a double derivation comprising com- "(together) with" + promittere "send forth; promise". The past participle of this word is the origin of English promise. Promittere, in its turn, is made up of pro "before" + mittere "to send". The noun from mitter was mission(n) "sending forth", which English also borrowed for its mission. (Let's all now thank Sue Gold of Westtown School, a frequent contributor of intriguing Good Words like today's for many years.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

George Kovac
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:54 am
Location: Miami

Re: Kompromat

Postby George Kovac » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:41 am

I think “kompromat” is linguistically related to the word “laundromat,” which is a scheme for concealing the transformation of profits from illegal activities and corruption into ostensibly "legitimate" assets. Kompromat is information you can leverage, like knowing the details of someone's laundromat. OK, I’ve been wrong before on folk etymologies. :wink:
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: Kompromat

Postby call_copse » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:25 am

I'll be honest there seems little other explanation for some behaviours than that such kompromat exists. However if it does exist it must be truly horrifying, as the purported subject certainly has no shame when it comes to things that might mortify us little folk.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 12 guests