Printable Version
Pronunciation: pro-rog Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To suspend a session without dissolving or finalizing it. 2. To postpone, defer.

Notes: This word, seldom heard outside specialized speech registers, has a rich family of offspring. It may be extended by the verbal suffix -ate to prorogate, which offers several derivations: prorogator, prorogatory "delayed, postponed", and an action noun, prorogation.

In Play: Prorogue is most popular in the realm of politics and astronomy: "The appointment of the last Supreme Court Justice was prorogued until new elections by an obstinate Senate." It is more popular in the UK than in the US: "The prime minister prorogued parliament in order to divert a vote of no confidence against him."

Word History: English borrowed this word from Old French proroguere inherited from Latin prorogare "to prolong, protract, extend", comprising pro "forward, before" + rogare "to ask". Pro came from PIE per/por "forward, before", which shows up in English for and German für "for" and vor "before", Russian pere- "over, around", and Lithuanian per "through". The root of rogare is PIE reg-/rog- "straight, right, correct" which turns up in Latin regula "rule", reduced by Old French to reule, when English borrowed it as rule. Both senses of rule originated in PIE, for reg- also turns up in regal and Latin rex "king", someone who rules in a different sense. That is it, too, in Sanskrit rajah "king" and maharajah "mighty king". (Today's word was a gift from a new Agoran, Jan Linders, an avid reader of the Good Word from the Netherlands.)

Dr. Goodword,

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