Friday, February 10, 2012

There Is No Such Word

Yep, the word in question does not exist. ...In English.

'Dja ever wonder why it is we do not refer to an especially agreeable, willing-to-compromise person as "transigent?"

It turns out we stole intransigent from the French -- who'd run off with it from Spain when the Cortes wasn't looking. And while the French took the whole set, English didn't bother; we'd rather have a good argument anyway.

And I'm not gonna bend even a little, tiny bit on that.

7 comments:

Mr.B said...

It's actually spelled "Didja"

rickn8or said...

I'm still working on why "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing.

Rob K said...

I'm willing to be transigent about your intransigence for I'm feeling gruntled.

:-)

CGHill said...

A very ept explanation.

Larry said...

Famous and infamous (which everyone knows means more than famous!)

Bob said...

Humorist Roy Blount, Jr., noticed the same word phenomenon some years ago, titling one of his essays "Of the Effable."

Drang said...

rickn8or: Just read about that one in a blurb at work. Fire safety folks got all hot and bothered because they feared regular folks would get inflammable--i.e., it flams, as George Carlin put it--with unflammable. So a new word was coined, "flammable."

Why do we not say that someone is "ept"? We don't even say that they're "apt", instead opting for "they have aptitude."