Pediment

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Dr. Goodword
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Pediment

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:16 pm

• pediment •


Pronunciation: ped-ê-mênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The triangular architectural structure jutting out over the portico, door or, windows of a (classical) building (see graphic). 2. A base, foundation, underlayment. 3. A broad, gently sloping rocky surface that extends outward from the foot of a hill, mountain, or cliff.
Image
Notes: So, why does the word for a structure on top of a door seem to come from the Latin root ped- "foot"? For an attempt at an answer, see the Word History. The adjective is pedimental, though pedimented may be used to mean "having a pediment". Pedimentation refers to the development of a geological pediment.

In Play: Pediments appear on some important buildings: "The words 'Equal Justice Under Law' are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court." They may also appear on some of the humblest buildings: "The 19th century buildings in our town have pediments over the windows and doors."

Word History: The best guess is that today's Good Word started out as a mispronunciation of periment (1590s), a workmen's term, most likely a dialectal garbling of pyramid. The connection could be the triangular shape of both pyramids and pediments. The conversion of the final syllable to -ment suffix could be due to folk etymology. The replacement of the first element with classical Latin ped- would also then be explained by folk etymology. If this speculation contains a grain of truth, we need to look for the etymology of pyramid. This word comes, via Latin and French, from Greek pyramis, pyramid-. The Greek word probably was a rearrangement of Egyptian pimar "pyramid". (Debbie Moggio was curious as to how something atop a door could contain the Latin word for "foot". Let's thank her now for sharing her curiosity with us.)
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rrentner
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Re: Pediment

Postby rrentner » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:31 am

How is this related to impediment?

David Myer
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Re: Pediment

Postby David Myer » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:45 am

Good question!

As far as I can make out, the answer is "Nothing". If pediment comes from pyramid, impediment is something to do with shackling the feet. So says Etymology Online, although I can't see where the shackles come in.

There are lots like this, aren't there? What has Immediate got to do with Mediate? Or Mense with Immense?

Now there's a suggestion for a good word: Mense as in to have one's meat and mense - when you invite someone to dinner whom you know can't come. You have shown generosity (mense) and it has cost you nothing. I will have to start using this word; it is certainly a good one.

David

misterdoe
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Re: Pediment

Postby misterdoe » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:21 pm

How is this related to impediment?

I was wondering the same thing...

damoge
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Re: Pediment

Postby damoge » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:36 pm

David, I had never heard the word "mense". Do you know where it comes from?
Everything works out, one way or another

David Myer
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Re: Pediment

Postby David Myer » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:19 am

A little more research on mense reveals that it may be connected to immense after all.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/mense

This one offers three meanings and suggests that the generosity thing may have wandered to a 'generous portion' - a large amount. The first two meanings appear to be Celtic in origin.

David

David Myer
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Re: Pediment

Postby David Myer » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:20 am

A little more research on mense reveals that it may be connected to immense after all.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/mense

This one offers three meanings and suggests that the generosity thing may have wandered to a 'generous portion' - a large amount. The first two meanings appear to be Celtic in origin.

David


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