Printable Version
Pronunciation: di-praiv Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To divest or dispossess of a possession or the right to something. 2. (Ecclesiastical) To divest of or remove from office.

Notes: This word has all the expected relatives beginning with an active and passive adjective, deprivative and deprivable. We get an action and personal noun, deprivation and depriver. A deprived child is assumed to be a child deprived of the benefits of a normal home life, especially parental affection. We deprive someone of things.

In Play: Deprivations are of many types: "If you deprived Kay Largo of chocolates, she might be much thinner, but she would certainly be grumpier." Deprivation of technology is a particularly difficult one to survive: "Deprived of access to the Internet by the loss of her mobile phone, Janice couldn't find her own home!"

Word History: We borrowed today's Good Word from Old French depriver, inherited from Medieval Latin deprivare. This word was made out of de "from" + privare "to free, deliver from anything". Privare comes from privus "single, alone" and the past participle, privatus, was borrowed as private. This word seems to have come from a preposition in Proto-Indo-European, per "forward, through, beyond". It also emerged in Latin unchanged, as per "through, for, by". It devolved into French par, as in par avion "by airplane" = "via airmail". The basic stem worked its way through the Germanic languages to English arriving as both for and far, from the sense of "beyond". (We would not like to deprive Diane Lyons of our gratitude for suggesting we consider today's very Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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