Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-eks-êr-ê-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Unswerving, relentless, inevitable, that cannot be avoided or averted. 2. Cannot be persuaded or cannot be dissuaded from a certain course of action, as an inexorable mayor.

Notes: Today's Good Word has been abandoned its family if it is not, in fact, already a lexical orphan. You can find its father, exorate "to persuade, get by persuasion", only in dictionaries like the Oxford English and Century dictionaries that carry archaic words. The positive adjective exorable "persuadable, avoidable" has been created by back-forming it from inexorable. These words are used only in jest, however, when they are used at all. The adverb of this adjective is inexorably. The noun is inexorability, created like all nouns ending on -able, by adding the suffix -ity.

In Play: The best way to use today's Good Word is as an industrial-strength substitute for inevitable: "Phil Anders found it difficult to face the inexorable fact that younger women were finding him less and less attractive as the years droned by." Things inexorable tend to be dreaded: "Lil Twitt became less and less socially visible as her 50th birthday drew inexorably closer."

Word History: Today's word goes back, through French, to the Latin adjective inexorabilis, comprising the negative prefix in- "un-" + exorabilis "pliant, persuadable". Exorabilis is an adjective derived from the verb exorare "to prevail upon", made up of ex "out of" + orare "to argue". This verb, of course, also gave us orator, oration, oratorio, and oracle. Its descendants today are Portuguese and Spanish exorar "to beg, persuade" and Italian exorare with approximately the same meaning. (It is a pleasantly inexorable duty that we thank one of our newest Lexiterians in the Alpha Agora, Luke Javan, for suggesting today's lexical delight.)

Dr. Goodword,

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