• correption •
kê-rep-shên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass
Meaning: Chastisement, upbraiding, reprehension, chewing out, calling onto the carpet. This word is rather old, but it is very useful and it's time to bring it down from the attic.
Notes: Correption often follows corruption wherever it goes, but this is no excuse for confusing these two words. Correption is the action noun of the verb corrept "to upbraid, chide." The adjective is correptory, as a correptory sermon for coming in late.
In Play: Hey, kids! If your parents are impressed with high-falutin' vocabulary, you might try this sometime: "Dad, couldn't you just dish out some firm correption and let me go my merry way instead of grounding me for a week?" (If dad's response is, "That word hasn't been used since 1837," don't be surprised; just refer him to today's Good Word.) Today's single word does the work of several long phrases like, "call on the carpet", "chew someone out", "give someone what for": "The boss gave me a bit of correption for missing work on Monday."
Word History: Today's Good Word is another from a Latin past participle, correptus "snatched away, blamed", from correpere "to snatch away, blame". This verb is a combination of com- "with", used here just as an intensifier of rapere "to snatch away, grab". I think the meaning of today's Good Word comes from the image of grabbing someone by the scruff of their neck and giving them what for. But the root of rapere is also the source of English rapid, since the original Latin word implied grabbing something and absconding with it. (Lest we invite correption from Ted Holzman and his family, let's now thank them for suggesting today's Good if old Word.)
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