• desist •
di-sist, di-zist • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive (no objects)
Meaning: To cease, stop, abstain, refrain.
Notes: This intransitive verb can take a semantic object by adding from, 'to desist from' means "to cease", as 'to desist from protesting' "to cease protesting". The noun from this adjective is either desistance or desistence.
In Play: This word is probably growing archaic, but it is still available for serious matters: "Phil Anders could not desist from pestering June McBride." However, because it is somewhat archaic already, it may be used humorously: "Desist, I tell you! I will not tolerate such nonsense!"
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin desistere "to stand aside, leave off, cease", from de "(away) from" + sistere "stop, come to a standstill". Sistere is PIE si-st-, a reduplicated form of root sta- "to stand", with the Latin inflectional endings. As we have seen before, sta- is one of the most prolific PIE roots, visible in all Indo-European languages: German stehen "stand", French être "to be" and état "state", Persian -stan "country" (where one stays), Italian stare (in piede) "to stand", Portuguese and Spanish estar "to be", Swedish and Norwegian stå "to stand", Dutch stand "stand", Russian stoyat' "to stand (up)" and stat' "to stand, come to be", and English stand, stay, standard, stead, steed, steer, stern, station, statistics, statue, stanza, to mention but a few.
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