• remunerate •
Pronunciation: ree-myu-nêr-ayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass
Meaning: To pay someone for services rendered or repay them for losses sustained, compensation.
Notes: This word has produced a complete derivational family since arriving in English. Someone who remunerates is a remunerator. The act of remunerating or thing given is remuneration. The act of remunerating is a remunerative act (the adjective) and we may pay someone remuneratively, usually in compensation for some loss. That should suffice for normal conversational needs.
In Play: Because the root of this word sounds so much like money, remuneration is generally taken as referring to financial payment only: "The remuneration for the job he received from his wife's father was negligible but the broader benefits were wonderful." This word can refer to payments in kind, too, though. Hey, kids! Here's the way to talk to your parents if you really want to impress them: "Mom, let's say I clean up my room; what sort of remuneration could I expect?"
Word History: Today's Good Word is the usual English adaptation of a Latin word, this time remuneratus "repaid, rewarded", the past participle of remunerari "to award for something". This verb comprises the prefix re- "back, again" + munerari "to award, bestow," from munus, muneris "service, office, duty". A free city in the Roman Empire was known as a municipium, originally a compound noun made up of munus + the combining form of capere "to take", in other words, a city in which citizens take offices as their civic duty. The adjective, meaning "related to a municipium", was municipalis, the source of English municipal and municipality. (Let us rest here to remunerate Chuck Lee with a word of gratitude for his suggestion of today's Good Word.)