Emeritus

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Dr. Goodword
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Emeritus

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Aug 14, 2022 7:40 pm

• emeritus •


Pronunciation: ee-mer-ê-tês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, postpositional

Meaning: A retired holder of some office who is allowed to hold their title as a matter of honor.

Notes: Today's word has a feminine form used in English, emerita, as 'Professor Mildred Martin, professor emerita'. Aside from this sister, emeritus has no derivational family; it is a lexical orphan.

In Play: Today this word is used almost exclusively for retired university professors: "Hooker Crook was made professor emeritus of criminal investigation at Capone University because he took his lectures too much to heart." The same applies to the feminine form: "After Sara Bellam retired, she assumed a job as chef in a five-star restaurant while still a professor emerita."

Word History: Today's Good Word is purely Latin emeritus "veteran soldier" from emerere "so serve out, earn, merit, deserve", comprising e(x) "out from" + merere "to deserve, be entitled to". The Latin word seems to have come from a PIE word, (s)mer-/(s)mor- "to allot, assign", source also of Greek meros "portion, share". Since we find so little evidence of this word in Indo-European languages, it has been suggested that the root might come from Etruscan, a lost language spoken in the region of Etruria in Italy. However, even less evidence of it appears in what we know of Etruscan. (Thank you Jeremy Busch for your service on the GW editorial board and for suggesting today's Good Word in the discussion of delinquent.)
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MisterMicawber
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Re: Emeritus

Postby MisterMicawber » Mon Aug 15, 2022 3:00 am

Interestingly, the word (both genders) is being used in the English language newspapers in Japan in the titles of the abdicated emperor and empress: "Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko". (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/ ... -diagnosis)
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master– that's all."

George Kovac
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Re: Emeritus

Postby George Kovac » Mon Aug 15, 2022 9:43 am

I think emeritus is used more broadly than in university contexts. I am sure there are other current examples (as with the Japanese emperor), but the one that comes first to my mind is the official title "His Holiness Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff Emeritus" or, more simply, "Pope Emeritus."
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

Debbymoge
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Re: Emeritus

Postby Debbymoge » Mon Aug 15, 2022 12:44 pm

"while still a professor emerita."

Does one ever cease to be emeritus/emerita? If so, under what conditions?
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Dr. Goodword
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Re: Emeritus

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:14 pm

Death.

Robert Beard, Professor Emeritus of Russian & Linguistics
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bnjtokyo
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Re: Emeritus

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Aug 16, 2022 8:32 am

Emeritus status can be revoked.

In 2019, after determining that Jorge Domínguez, former Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico, Emeritus, and onetime vice provost for international affairs used his job to harass women for nearly 40 years, Harvard University banned him from campus and off-campus events and revoked his emeritus status and retirement privileges.

Philip Hudson
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Re: Emeritus

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Aug 21, 2022 7:27 pm

In the Baptist tradition, retired ministers are often designated emeritus. As one such recipient of the honor said, "Emeritus means you are still expected to work but you don't get paid."
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

David Myer
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Re: Emeritus

Postby David Myer » Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:36 am

Splendid. Love this discussion.
Last edited by David Myer on Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Emeritus

Postby David Myer » Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:37 am

So if I was once an all-round good guy, but have given away good deeds, am I now an all-round good guy emeritus or just a bad guy?

Philip Hudson
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Re: Emeritus

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Aug 25, 2022 3:44 am

We are glad to meet you MisterMicawber. I see you are an English teacher. We all struggle along with the language. I maintain that the English language is the greatest artifact that God has enabled mortal man to create.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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