Printable Version
Pronunciation: bee-lawng-ger Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Someone who is neither an alien nor a citizen but belongs in a country because of their native aborigine status or biological descent.

Notes: Today's word is a new one, a noun derived from the verb to belong. It is used in connection with unregistered natives of the Caribbean islands or the aborigines in Australia. "Unregistered" in the sense of having no birth certificate or other form of official recognition.

In Play: This is a word we could use in the USA today if we expanded the meaning just a tad: "The presidential directive that created the DACA program made those who qualify belongers." Of course, we may use it figuratively, too: "Justine was ostracized from her clique of friends because her Australian accent disqualified her as a belonger."

Word History: The stem of today's Good Word is the verb belong, comprising be- + long. Long in the sense of "dependent (on), attributable (to)" has long since gone out of fashion, but that is how long got into belong. English borrowed long from French longue "long", which it inherited from Latin longus. Latin came by its word from PIE del-/dol-/dl- "long", source of Russian dlinnyi "long (space)" and dolgii "long (time), German lang, Greek dolikhos "long", and Hindi diirgh from Sanskrit—where Ls became Rs—dirghah "long". (Today's Good Word was spotted by Willow Waddy of way Down Under; our gratitude today belongs to her.)

Dr. Goodword,

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