Printable Version
Pronunciation: ahb-trud Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To thrust outward, to push forward. 2. To impose yourself or your opinions forcibly on others without their consent.

Notes: Today's Good Word belongs to an old and distinguished family of Latin borrowings that include intrude, extrude, and protrude. Like them, it comes with a noun obtrusion and an adjective, obtrusive. Those who obtrude are, of course, obtruders. An obtrusion is usually a single act of obtruding. An obtrusive person, though, is characterized by his or her obtrusiveness.

In Play: Intrusions are interruptions that may be happy, obnoxious, or necessary, but an obtrusion can only be obnoxious: "Is there somewhere we can talk where Jess Buggov can't obtrude with his incessant jabber about his grandchildren?" Someone may intrude on a conversation with an important message, but obtrusions are unimportant and annoying: "Taylor Maide was furious when his caddy obtruded on his concentration at the eighth hole just to tell him that the lightning was now hitting the golf course."

Word History: Today's Good Word traces its roots back to Latin obtrudere "to push against", made up of ob- "against" + trudere "to thrust". The root of trudere comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root that gave English its words threat and thrust. This word was also preserved in the Slavic languages where we find it in the popular word under Soviet power, trud "labor, hard work hard". Since the Soviets saw themselves as the defenders of the worldwide labor movement, trud was often repeated in publications, including the magazine Trud. In Serbo-Croatian this root implies a different sense of labor, for trudna means "pregnant" in that language. (I am sure we would all like to assure the mysterious Klimt of the Alpha Agora that his suggestion of today's Good Word was not the least obtrusive.)

Dr. Goodword,

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