Printable Version
Pronunciation: rem-ên-strayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: 1. To protest vigorously, to actively challenge, take issue with or exception to. 2. (Currently out of fashion) To reprove, point out a fault, criticize.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes with a similar complement of relatives as its cousin, demonstrate. The noun is remonstration [remênstrayshên], the most frequently encountered adjective is remonstrative [remahnstrêtiv]. But it goes on further: A single act of remonstrating, verbal or in writing, is a remonstrance. A person who remonstrates may be either a remonstrator (like demonstrator) or a remonstrant.

In Play: Today's Good Word differs from complain in that it is usually a more vigorous and persistent form of complaint: "Faye Slift remonstrated in the most explicit terms against her exclusion from the beauty contest because of her facial surgery." We have the ingredients for a remonstrance wherever decisions are made: "The coach had spent the entire game remonstrating with the referee against bad calls against his team."

Word History: Today's word comes from remonstratus, the past participle of Medieval Latin remonstrare "to show, argue against", comprising Latin re- "back, against" + Latin monstrare "to show". Monstrare is based on monstrum "portent, monster" from monere "to warn". Latin inherited this verb from Proto-Indo-European mon-/men- "to think, thought", which also gave Latin men(t)s "mind" and mentio(n) "remembrance". English borrowed these words via French as mental and mention. We also borrowed the French ending on -ment, as in ailment and deferment, which shares the same origin as men(t)s. By the time Latin monstrum had worked its way through French, it had become monstre "monster, monstrosity". It was at this point English borrowed it. (Lest Jeremy Busch—a Grand Panjandrum in the Agora—remonstrate against the oversight, let us all pay homage for his recommendation of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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