• comport •
kêm-port • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, reflexive, intransitive
Meaning: 1. [Reflexive] To behave, act, conduct (oneself). 2. [Intransitive] To agree, to jibe, be consistent (with).
Notes: To use this verb reflexively, you must include a reflexive pronoun, as in, "She comports herself with great dignity." In using it intransitively, the preposition with must be included, "What he said does not comport with the evidence." You have your choice of nouns: you may add the suffix -ment (comportment) or you may simply retract the accent back to the first syllable (comport).
In Play: Today's Good Word is a synonym of behave in a slightly more elite French body: "No, Wayne, putting a lampshade on your head and dancing on a coffee table is no way to comport yourself even at a party." This conversation might continue with the second meaning of today's word: "Such behavior does not comport well with your position as the president of an Ivy League university."
Word History: Today's Good Word, like so many other English words, was imported from Old French, this time from comporter "to conduct". French inherited it from Latin comportare "to carry together" made up of com "with, together" + portare "to carry, bear". The root port comes from PIE per-/por- "to lead across, pass over". It appears in many Latin borrowings referring to carrying, such as porter, portage, deport, and port itself. Sport is a reduction of Old French desport "entertainment, diversion", the noun of desporter "to divert, amuse". The [p] became [f] in Germanic languages giving us Norwegian fjord and English ford. (Words like today's from Chris Berry comport perfectly with our mission to bring you stories of fascinating words.)
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