Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-treet Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To beg, beseech, plead earnestly and anxiously for (something). 2. (Obsolete) To deal with, handle, treat in a certain manner.

Notes: Entreat, as you can see from the obsolete meaning above, has shifted meaning over the years. Its meaning today is in a continuum of verbs indicating the degree of anxiety of a request: request "politely ask" » ask for » entreat "plead for" » beg "desperately plead for". The noun is entreaty, the adjectives are entreative and entreatable "easily entreated".

In Play: This word comes in handy around the house: "His mother entreated him not to go out in the rain without rubbers and an umbrella." It also works well at the office: "The new president entreated all employees to take the pay cuts and layoffs with a stiff upper lip."

Word History: In Middle English our word today was entreten, from Anglo-Norman entreter, the French language as spoken in England from 1066 to 1204. Entreter was a remake of Old French entraiter "to treat (as)" composed of en- "to make, cause" + traiter "to treat (as)". French inherited this verb from Latin tractare "to handle, manage, treat (as)". Tractare was the frequentative form (meaning "occurs frequently") of trahere "to pull, draw", whose past participle was tractus. Trahere was inherited from PIE dhreg-/dhrog- "to draw, pull, drag", also the source of English drag and Russian doroga "road".

Dr. Goodword,

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