Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-sêr-jint Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Insurrectionist, seditionist, rebellious, participating in an uprising or rebellion against a legal authority. 2. Someone who participates in an insurrection or a rebellious act of sedition.

Notes: Insurgents insurge or engage in insurgency, whose plural is spelled insurgencies. The occasional writer has tried insurgescence "incipient insurgency", but it is hard to tell if this word has fully established itself in the English vocabulary. We might want to call what happened in the halls of the US Capitol on January 6 an 'insurgescence'.

In Play: As an adjective, today's Good Word finds many uses around the house and office: "The plan to keep the office open on Saturday met a strong if not insurgent reaction." The nominal use of this word is exemplified herein: "Smart phones and social media played a major role in communications between the insurgents on January 6."

Word History: Today's Good Word was picked off from Latin insurgen(t)s "rising up", the present participle of insurgere "rise up, arise", from in- "in(to), on(to)" + surgere "to rise". Surgere is a contraction of an earlier form surrigere, comprising an assimilated form of sub "(up from) under, below" + the combining form of regere "to keep straight, guide", passed on from Proto-Indo-European -reg "move in a straight line". Regula "a straight stick, bar, shaft" is a noun from regere. By the time it reached Old French, it had been reduced to rule. Modern French re-Latinized it to règle "ruler; regulation". So, we see that either Late Latin or Old French split the meaning of reg- between the two senses of English ruler.

Dr. Goodword,

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