Printable Version
Pronunciation: sê-seed Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To withdraw from an organization, such as a church or nation. Used with the preposition from.

Notes: The current rebellious organizations in the US either want to take over the government or have their state secede from the union, just as before the Civil War. The action noun from this word is secession and the personal noun is seceder "a single person who withdraws". The principle of secession is known as secessionism and an inherent of this principle is a secessionist.

In Play: The most famous secession occurred just before the Civil War in the US: "South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860 and Fort Sumter, SC, was the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War (April 12, 1861)." We rarely hear it used figuratively: "Les Hyde secedes from all discussions of politics."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from Latin secedere "to withdraw", made up of se "self" (as in 'per se' "in and of itself") + cedere "to go from, depart". The prefix of this word came down from PIE s(w)e-/s(w)o- "self", source also of Sanskrit svah "oneself, his/her/its own", Latin sui "him/her/itself", Russian svoj "one's own" and sam "self", English self, and German sich "self". Latin cedere was made from PIE ked-/kod- "to go, yield", seen also in Sanskrit sedhati "chases away", Russian khodit' "to go/come" and many Latin words, such as the origins of borrowed English words like exceed, precede, abscess, and ancestor. (Now a bow to Joakim Larsson of Sweden, a regular contributor of topical Good Words like today's via the contact page.)

Dr. Goodword,

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