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Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:09 pm
by Dr. Goodword

• weaponize •

Pronunciation: we-pê-naiz • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To provide with weapons, to arm, militarize. 2. To convert to a weapon. 3. (Politics) Convert to an attack issue, make aggressive.

Notes: Today's word has become popular in US news reports recently. Politicians often 'weaponize' issues in the figurative sense of today's Good Word. Weaponize permits a noun, weaponization, which allows an adjective, weaponizational. Someone who weaponizes regularly may be called a weaponizer.

In Play: First, the basic meaning of today's word: "During World War II many commercial ships were weaponized and sent into battle." Now, its figurative sense: "Hermione decided to weaponize the nude pictures of her ex-boyfriend when he decided to run for political office."

Word History: Today's Good Word arose in the 1930s. It comprises the noun weapon + -ize, a common verbalizing suffix. Derivations from Proto-Germanic wæpna- "weapon, arms" may be found across most Germanic languages: German Waffe "weapon" and Wappen "coat of arms", Swedish vapen "weapon", Danish vaaben "weapon". However, we find no evidence of it in Indo-European languages outside Germanic or any evidence of how it got into Germanic. The suffix originates in Greek -iz-, a verb-forming suffix that could be reconverted into nouns by adding -m-, as in the English borrowings plagiarize : plagiarism, and terrorize : terrorism. English borrowed this suffix from French, which still spells it -ise, but the Americans changed the spelling back to the original Greek, leaving the British spelling -ise: plagiarise and terrorise.