Printable Version
Pronunciation: en-su Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive, transitive

Meaning: To follow, to take place subsequently or consequently.

Notes: Today's word is a cousin of pursue, so it isn't surprising that it preserves some of the flavor of that word's meaning. However, the immediate family of this Good Word is also large. There are two adjectives, ensuing "subsequent", as Monday and the ensuing days, and ensuant "consequent", as the fight ensuant on Jacques' remark. The noun ensuance is rarely used, but nothing tells us is it no longer available.

In Play: Although I say that ensuing means "subsequent" above, it is always difficult to draw the line between "subsequent" and "consequent", as this situation illustrates, "The talk on family values and verbal brawl that ensued raised doubts about the existence of any values among us." This verb may also be used transitively, "The audience exodus that ensued the first movement of the concerto left little reason to continue with the second or third."

Word History: Today's is another word nipped from French, this time from ensuivre "to follow". Once we silenced the final [e], we had a word ending on [vr], a combination English simply doesn't do, so the consonants were dropped, too. The French word descended from Latin insequi "to pursue, follow close upon", as do Provenal enseguir and Italian inseguire. The Latin parent was a combination of in "in, on" + sequi "to follow". Sequi contains the same root as sign, something we all follow, and Latin secundus "following, second (in line)", another word that made its way into English, as second.

Dr. Goodword,

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