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soak

Printable Version
Pronunciation: sowk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. Make something or become completely wet by immersing it in liquid 2. To saturate thoroughly as with a liquid. 3. To exact an exorbitant price.

Notes: Here is an interesting word by way of its two seemingly unrelated meanings (see Word History). It offers a little used noun, soakage, which can refer to the process of soaking or the amount liquid absorbed. We also have another noun, soakaway, a pit into which water may flow to percolate into the soil.Here is an interesting word by way of its two seemingly unrelated meanings (see Word History). It offers a little used noun, soakage, which can refer to the process of soaking or the amount liquid absorbed. We also have another noun, soakaway, a pit into which water may flow to percolate into the soil.

In Play: The fundamental meaning of today's word is common enough: "Justin Case forgot his umbrella one day when it poured rain, so arrived soaked to the skin." The other sense is just as common: "When Lyman bough his expensive car, he never dreamed how much he would be soaked for repairs."

Word History: The Old English form of today's word was socian "to soak, to lie in liquid", from Indo-European sug-, a suffixed variant PIE seue- "to take in liquid". In Latin it popped up in sugere "to suck", whence the English borrowing suction and Italian prosciutto, from prosciugare "to dry out". Russian suxoj "dry" comes via the intermediate sense of "absorb (completely)". That sense appeared in English in the 17th century when expressions like 'soak bread dry', i.e. to bake it well, emerge. This sense led to the figurative sense of "soak your pockets dry", hence the second sense of today's word. There was a variant of seue-, sub-, which provided the IE languages with many more words, like sip, sop, soup, and sup, in the archaic sense of "sip". (We all must now thank Perry Lassiter, a Grand Panjandrum in the Alpha Agora, for today's absorbing Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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