Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-grayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, adjective

Meaning: 1. (Noun) An ungrateful person. 2. (Adjective, archaic) Unpleasant, unfriendly. 3. (Adjective) Ungrateful, unthankful.

Notes: The noun for this adjective is ingratitude. The verb ingratiate is a completely different construction. The prefix on this word means "in" in Latin, so the verb means "to gain favor with". Today grate refers to a heavy duty sieve or, as a verb, to scrape in order to wear down, both wholly unrelated to ingrate or ingratiate.

In Play: As a noun, ingrate is found in sentences like this: "The ingrates in the audience refused to applaud, let alone stand like the performer's family." This word may be used as an adjective in a similar sense: "Proudhon was miffed by the ingrate audience that avoided his performance altogether."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us, again, courtesy of Latin, from ingratus "disagreeable, ungrateful", comprising in- "not" + gratus "beloved, pleasing", handed down after vowel + r metathesis from a suffixed form of PIE gwerê- "to praise, welcome", source also of Albanian grish "to invite". Gwerê- is the ultimate source of grace. It also underlies a raft of Latinate borrowings built on gratus, like gracious, gratitude, and gratify. Agree was borrowed from Old French agreer, which had been radically reduced from Latin aggratare "to gratify". Gwerê- went into the making of Lithuanian grti "to praise, flatter". and geras "good, nice" without the benefit of metathesis.

Dr. Goodword,

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