Printable Version
Pronunciation: træn-sê-div Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Related to a transition or transitions, transitional, passing through. 2. (Grammar) The nature of a verb that allows direct objects, e. g. the word after ate in the phrase 'He ate spaghetti'. (Intransitive verbs do not allow a direct object, e.g. we can't arrive anything: 'He arrived a car.') 3. (Logic) A relation such that if it applies to a sequence of consistent functions, it must apply to the first and last of these; in other words, if A > B and B > C, then A must be greater than C.

Notes: I sometimes use the grammatical meaning of this word in descriptions of verbs, so I thought a bit of explanation might be in order. The adverb and noun to this adjective are straightforward, transitively and transitivity.

In Play: This word is hard to play with, but I'll give it a shot: "Making transitive verbs out of intransitive ones annoys me, for instance, when people say things like 'to creep me out'." Remember the first definition is still not only alive but prominent: "Hay Teach retired from the university, because as he grew older and older the transitive students remained the same age."

Word History: This word was a 'gift' from Late Latin transitivus "passing over", based transitus, past participle of transire "to go over", comprising trans "over, across, through" + ire "to go". Trans may have been a participle of some verb trare "to cross" that was not preserved. That would make sense because we know that Proto-Indo-European had a word terê- "cross over, pass through", which English inherited from its Germanic ancestors as thrill. Thrill once was a verb meaning "bore through". Middle English nose-thrill ended up in Modern English as nostril. Ire "go, come" is visible in transit, a borrowing from Latin. In Russian today it is idti "come, go". Janitor was borrowed from Latin, too. It was originally a compound meaning "doorkeeper", made up of janua "gate, door" + it(us) past participle of ire + -or, a personal noun suffix. Janua came from the name of the god of gateways, Janus, whose head appeared above the gates or front doors of many Romans.

Dr. Goodword,

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