• demise •
Pronunciation: di-maiz • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, Verb
Meaning: 1. (Noun) End, finish, failure, death. 2. (Noun) The transfer property by will. 3. (Verb) To transfer title to property by will.
Notes: English offers several euphemisms for death and dying, among them pass away, decease, expire, and so on. Today's word is one of them as, 'after his demise'. It is a lexical orphan which shares a source with dismiss.
In Play: Demise is most often used as a euphemism for death: "Right after Calvin Coolidge's demise in 1933, Dorothy Parker famously asked, 'How could they tell?' at the Algonquin Table." However, it may be used to signal the end of anything: "Everyone in the company was relieved to hear of the demise of the idea that the company should produce a helicopter ejector seat."
Word History: This word came to Middle English as a legal term from Anglo-Norman French, from dimis, the past participle of Old French demettre "to dismiss", source also of English dismiss. It evolved from Latin dimittere "to scatter, distribute", based on di-, a variant of de- "(out) from" + mittere "to release, let go". Latin inherited mittere from PIE mei-to-/moi-to- "to (ex)change, move, go". This PIE word is also the source of Sanskrit mitrah "friend", Old Persian mithra "contract", English miss, and the prefixes mis- and French mes-.