Printable Version
Pronunciation: di-mahrsh Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A petition or complaint made through diplomatic channels. 2. A move, step, maneuver, initiative, especially a political or diplomatic one.

Notes: This word is so seldom used that it retains its French pronunciation and even occasionally appears with its cocked French beret: démarche. Don't forget the final E; a demarch (pronounced [dimark]) is a Greek mayor and his office is a demarchy.

In Play: Demarche is used far more often in its initial sense above: "Ukraine has sent repeated demarches to the European nations asking for defensive military equipment." The second sense is still available though it usually implies political motivation: "The US show of solidarity with Taiwan is a diplomatic demarche to discourage China's attempting to duplicate Russia's misadventure into Ukraine."

Word History: Today's Good Word is French dmarche "step, walk, approach", the noun from dmarcher "solicit, canvass", comprising de- "(down) from, concerning"+ marcher "to walk, step". It would seem to be of Germanic origin. In Old French marche meant "boundary, border", something that people of the time stepped off. In Old High German it also meant "border", equivalent to today's Grenzmark. It came from Proto-Germanic marko, from the same source as Latin margo "border, edge, margin", the ultimate source of English margin and (land)mark. All these developed from PIE merg-/morg- "boundary, boundary", source also of German Morgen "morning", Dutch morgen, and English morning. (Two prolific contributors, George Kovac and Lew Jury, almost simultaneously thought today's French Good Word would be of interest to all the GW readers who keep up with the news.)

Dr. Goodword,

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