Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-rê-gayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To take over or claim something high-handedly and without justification. 2. To attribute or assign something to another without right or justification.

Notes: English 'borrowed' the whole set of this word, though the meanings may have strayed apart a bit. Arrogation is the action noun and arrogator, the personal noun. Arrogative is the adjective. However, the French version of this verb had a present participle, arrogant, with a slightly different sense. We borrowed it, too, along with the noun that goes with it: arrogance.

In Play: Rights and authority are commonly arrogated: "The director arrogated to himself the sole right to edit the play, to the dismay of the playwright." Again: "Do not think me arrogating myself the authority to instruct you, William, but you really shouldn't pick your nose at the dinner table."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from arrogatus "asked, claimed" from arrogare "to ask, lay claim to". This verb comprises ad "to" + rogare "to ask". The D in ad assimilates to the first consonant of the root, which is to say in this case, D regularly becomes R before R. A cousin of today's word, abrogate "to repeal", comes from Latin abrogare "to take away, repeal". The root rogare "to ask, claim" came from PIE rog-/reg- "right, straight; lead, rule", which also became rule (from Latin regula after French had a go at it) and regular. Regal came from the sense of "lead, rule" in Latin rex, regis "king". English also acquired this root from its Germanic ancestors as right. (We should not be so arrogant as to forget to thank Iain Smallwood for his suggestion of one of the family members of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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