Printable Version
Pronunciation: cheez-payr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: (Irish) 1. Pare the rind of cheese, that part of the cheese of no value. 2. To scrimp, economize, husband, pinch pennies, be stingy, miserly.

Notes: Since the rind of cheese is worthless to cheese-eaters, this contribution to the English language by the Irish originally meant "economize by removing waste". However, the meaning has broadened to any type of scrimping. We may derive a personal noun, cheeseparer, from this verb, but the present participle, cheeseparing, has to serve as adjective and action noun.

In Play: We may still use this word nearer its original physical sense: "Reginal had to cheesepare the dog out of the picture in order to get it to fit the frame." However, the meaning has long since spread from that starting point: "The Republican Party has been trying to cheesepare the federal budget since the presidency of Ronald Reagan."

Word History: Funky!Today's Good Word is rather obviously a compound verb comprising cheese and pare. Cheese in Old English was cyse. It is cousin to German Käse and Dutch kaas. It is probably related to Russian kvas, a weak beer, and Sanskrit kvathati "boils". With an L suffix, it shows up in Russian kiselyi "sour", Czech kyslý "sour" and, without the L, in Czech kysat "to turn sour". Pare comes to us from Latin parare "prepare, arrange, design" via Old French parer "arrange, prepare, trim". Latin inherited the word from PIE perê- "to produce, procure", which went into the making of many Latin and Romance language borrowings in English: parade, parry, parent, prepare—to mention only a few. (Let's not cheesepare this note of gratitude for Jeremy Busch, who recommended today's cheesy Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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