• apprise •
ê-praiz • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To inform, tell, notify.
Notes: Today's Good Word is often confused with apprize, a variant of appraise "to place a value on, judge the worth of". The confusion is deepened by the fact that apprise is the preferred British spelling of apprize. So, when in Britain, Americans may confuse the spellings so long as we remember apprise has both meanings. The noun for this word is apprisal (and for appraise, appraisal).
In Play: The only sense of this word in America is "to inform": "Most parents apprise school officials that their child is a genius." This verb usually appears as a past participle which may be used adjectivally with the preposition of: "Why wasn't I apprised of the lock change on my office door?"
Word History: This word was taken from French appris, the past participle of apprendre "to inform, teach", literally "to mentally capture". French inherited its word from Latin apprehendere "take hold of, grasp" physically or mentally, which English also borrowed for its apprehend. The Latin verb is composed of ad "(up) to" + prehendere "to seize", which may be broken down into prae- "before," + -hendere, from the PIE root ghend- "to seize, take". The N in this root is a Fickle N, for the same root wended its way through Germanic ancestors to become English get. Appraise is an alteration of apprize by association with praise.
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