Printable Version
Pronunciation: forth-with Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adverb

Meaning: Immediately, at once, right away, without delay, extremely quickly.

Notes: Here is a word that is fast slipping away; we still read it occasionally, but seldom hear it spoken. Forthright once meant "immediately" but its sense has drifted to "straightforward". Today's word is a lexical orphan: no derivatives.

In Play: Many changes should be made forthwith these days: "Mona Getsche has violated netiquette egregiously, so her Facebook account should be terminated forthwith." Here is an unexpected one: "Whoever put that in the teleprompter should be fired forthwith!"

Word History: Forthwith is obviously a compound comprising forth and with. Forth is a native English word descended from Proto-Germanic furtha- "forward", the same source as Dutch voort "forth, onwards" and German fort "away (from), further". Proto-Germanic came by its word from a suffixed form of PIE root per- "forward", which Latin preserved in its per "through, for". English converted it to for and fore, and German, to vor "before". In Greek it emerged as pro "before, forth", which we see in proira "forward part of a ship", which ended up in English as prow after it had passed though Latin and French.

Dr. Goodword,

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