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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 11, 2021 10:54 pm

• perquisite •

Pronunciation: pêr-kwi-zit • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An (additional) benefit, an (extra) value received for something we do. 2. Criterion for a position, quality required for performance of an activity.

Notes: The clipping of this word, spelled perk, has just about elbowed its mother out of the English language. The spelling is explained by folk etymology: languages always prefer the pronunciation and spelling of words already in the language to aliens (perq). This word should not be confused with prerequisite.

In Play: In the first sense of today's word expect sentences like: "Access to the company airplane was a perquisite for the job that Danilo didn't expect." The second sense is comfortable in expressions like this: "Farnsworth had all the perquisites of an outstanding car salesman."

Word History: Today's Good Word represents a modification of Medieval Latin perquisitum "thing gained, profit", the noun use of the neuter past participle of perquirere "to seek, ask for". In classical Latin the meaning was "thing sought after". This word consisted of per "thoroughly" + quaerere "to seek", source also of Portuguese and Spanish querer "to want" and English query. Latin quaerere was based on PIE kwo-/kwe-, the root of all interrogative pronouns, such as Latin qui "who, which", quo "where (to)", and qua "how". Since [k] became [h] in Germanic languages, we are not surprised to see what ([hwaht]), who ([hu]), where ([hwer]), when ([hwen]) in English. German later dropped the [h] and came up with wer "who", was "what', wann "when" and wo "where". Russian lost the [w] to produce kto "who", kuda "where to", kak "how", and kogda "when". (The only perquisite of contributing marvelous Good Words like today's is our gratitude, today earned yet again by Rob Towart.)
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Re: Perquisite

Postby Slava » Wed May 12, 2021 8:56 am

"Farnsworth had all the perquisites of an outstanding car salesman."

How does perquisite differ from prerequisite in this sentence? I'd say it would require a slight change in wording, prerequisites to be an..., but the meaning is the same, no?
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Re: Perquisite

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu May 13, 2021 4:23 pm

I am uncomfortable with using this word in definition 2. In definition 1 it has pretty much been been replaced by perk. It seems to me that prerequisite can do all the work and perquisite can be put in the dustbin of unnecessary words.

Are there really any outstanding car salesmen? Due to some mental disability due to a stroke, I do not personally do any business. My dear wife does it for us. Not too long ago she was in the market for a new car. After thoroughly discussing the purchase with the salesman and deciding she wanted the car, the salesman said, "Okay little lady, go get your husband and lets make a deal." Wife took umbrage. Salesman lost sale. QED.
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