Printable Version
Pronunciation: ther-frêm Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adverb

Meaning: From that point on, from that place, time, or thing, thence.

Notes: We don't often use the there- words but they are there to be used. We tend to get stuck on thereby, therefore and maybe thereof in legal documents. But several other prepositions have a corresponding adverb preceded by there: thereto, thereafter, thereupon, thereunder. Only one has the adverbial -s: thereabouts.

In Play: The basic sense of this word is directional; "There has been a fish kill in Lake Meade, and all streams flowing therefrom are deemed polluted." However, that direction may be concrete or abstract; "If her basic assumption is false, all deductions therefrom are false."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a compound: comprising there + from. There descended from a PIE pronoun to (demonstrative pronoun) plus the suffix -r, which emerged in all Germanic languages as -er and in Latin as -or. Without the suffix, this word turned up in Sanskrit as tada "then", in Russian and other Slavic languages as to "that" and èto "this", in German as da "there". This, then, thence share the same source with different suffixes.

From originally meant "forward", as seen in a variant, fro, as in "to and fro". Fra is still alive in some Scottish and northern English dialects. All these forms go back to a metathesized version of PIE per-/por- "forward, in front of". Without metathesis, English made for and fore out of it. (We are grateful today to Dan Joseph for snatching today's Good Word from the brink of extinction and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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