Printable Version
Pronunciation: klen-dyu-si-ti Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: The ability (of plants) to naturally resist disease by their genetic makeup.

Notes: Today's is a word clumsily made up by a botanist fewer than 100 years ago to name the genetic state of certain plants. Botany has hidden it from nonbotanist view ever since. It is time for this word to come out of the closet. Its adjective is klendusic.

In Play: I can think of a myriad of ways to weave this word into a general conversation: "Those flowers around Rose Gardner's house lacking in klendusity were powdered weekly with every fungicide known to man." The origin of this word suggests it could apply to people and animals, too: "I'm in and out of the hospital all the time, but my wife is klendusic—she never sees a doctor."

Word History: This was a word introduced by botanists in the 1930s. It is a poorly mixed form made up of Greek kleidoun "to lock up" (or kleis "key") + endusis "entry, putting on" + English -ity. The semantic concept attempted by the botanist who came up with the term was "blocking entry" of the causes of disease. The restriction of this word to botanical organisms is purely by usage; nothing built into the semantics would support such a restriction. The same PIE word—(s)kleu- "hook"—that became kleis in Greek turned up in German with the Fickle S as Schlüssel "key" and schliessen "to close", and Dutch sleutel "key". Without the Fickle S we find it in Latin clavis "key", that lies behind the English borrowings clavicle, clavier and clavichord, Russian kljuch "key", and Lithuania kliutis "obstacle". (While working on kleptocracy, Dr. Goodword noticed this Good Word just above and wondered why it had not wandered out into the general vocabulary.")

Dr. Goodword,

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