• effraction •
i-fræk-shên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A break-in, forcible entry, robbery.
Notes: This rarely used word suggests a large family of Latinate relatives, like
effract, effractive, and effractable. Yet these form do not seem to have ever been used. Dictionary.com does list effractor.
In Play: Houses and shops are the usual victims of effraction: "Tony's bakery suffered an effraction last night, costing him 24 dozen cupcakes." Let's try the personal noun, since Dictionary.com authorizes it: "The effractors had such efficient instruments of effraction that no bolts or locks could resist them."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a French modification of Late Latin effractura, from Latin effractus, the past participle of effringere "to break open". Effringere is the result of combining ex "(away) from; out of" + -fringere, the combining form of frangere "to break". Suffrage comes from Latin suffragium "the right to vote", a noun based on suffragari "to vote", that is, "to use a broken piece of tile as a ballot", as Romans were wont to do when voting. Latin frangere came from a nasalized version of PIE bhreg- "to break", the great grandfather of English break and breach. (Now let's thank one of the Good Word editors, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, for sharing his lexical discovery with us today as well as for the excellent job of editing he has been doing for more than a decade.)
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