Printable Version
Pronunciation: do-nayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To give as a gift, to gift, bestow.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a back-formation from donation. That means that donation entered the language first, but it looked so much like words on -ion that were derived from verbs on -ate, that we created the verb based on that assumption. Both donator and donatee were tried for the giver and recipient of donations, but we seem to have settled on donor and donee.

In Play: If you think today's Good Word was not chosen by accident, I must admit you are correct. The financial burden has finally become too great for the good doctor alone and, rather than asking for a subscription, we are asking for donations: "Donate to alphaDictionary to keep the Good Words coming by clicking here." If you have already donated, please forgive the intrusion.

Word History: This word, as mentioned above, is a back-formation of donation, which was borrowed, as usual, from Old French donacion, which was passed down to French from Latin donatio(n) "gift-giving". This action noun was based on donare "give as a gift", based on donum "gift". Donum goes back to the PIE root do- "to give", which also produced Latin dare "to give", Russian dat' "to give" and dacha "gift; summer cottage", and Greek dosis "something given, gift", which English borrowed as dose. The past participle of dare was datus (masculine), datum (neuter), and data (feminine singular and neuter plural). Boy, did the English lexical pirates have fun with this one, "borrowing" datum, data, and the French version of data, date, shortened from the Latin phrase data Romae "issued by Rome (on a certain day)".

Dr. Goodword,

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