Printable Version
Pronunciation: ræ-por-têr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A person who manages records of and to official meetings.

Notes: This word is spelled the same as it was borrowed from Modern French. English borrowed several words related by this root from French, always changing the meanings. We have both rapportage, meaning any type of reporting, and reportage referring only to news reporting. Rapport is another.

In Play: A rapporteur is usually one who takes notes like a secretary but notes that go into a report: "At the conference, Frederico was appointed rapporteur on the problem of child retribution on strict parents." However, less often a rapporteur is someone designated to give a report to an organization: "The committee decided to appoint the CEO of a supermarket chain as rapporteur on the question of food spoilage."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed recently from Modern French. In Old French the verb was raporter "to tell, relate; bring back, carry away", comprising re- "again, back" + aporter "to bring to". This latter word descended from Medieval Latin raportare, made up of re- "again, back" + aportare "to bring to", a reduction of ad "(up) to" + portare "to carry". This Latin verb devolved into Modern French porter "to carry", also borrowed by English, which apparently mistook the French infinitive suffix, -er, for the English personal noun suffix. Porter and portare come from PIE per-/por- "to lead, pass over", which also produced Norwegian fjord and English ferry and ford. (George Kovac is an avid rapporteur of great Good Words like today's. We owe him a grave debt of gratitude.)

Dr. Goodword,

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