WOTD: lots of words with ‘ad’

February 12, 2007

It occurs to me that the scholarly idiom in English is far too removed from its vernacular companion, as it is in Hebrew, and German (Yiddish, blessedly, still sounds like Yiddish, and French, thankfully, sounds a lot like English). Since I blogged about adumbrate, I’ve managed to include it in at least three academic papers, however not a once have I dropped it into casual speech (although, wherever appropriate, I use adumber). As much as I’d like to use it, it wouldn’t make sense for me to adumbrate the plot of a Brandy Taylor movie, or an episode of Jackass into a narrative as I hake away through my day.

Admixture is an equally highfalutin word that I’ll probably never use outside an academic paper. An admixture is, “The action or process of mingling one substance with another, or of adding as an ingredient; the fact of being so mingled;” as well as, ” That which is mixed with anything; an alloy, an alien element.” The word comes to us from the obs. admixt-v, which is just another way of saying admix-v, “To mingle with something else; to add as an ingredient.” (now rare) Admix and admixt are now rare, except for admixt-ppl.a, “Mingled with; added as an ingredient.” I like that the OED claims that a word whose last attested quote is 1803 is not rare when every other form of it is.

My favorite part of going through the OED is that you can easily see the conflation of variants into standard words. Prefixes and suffixes change and drop all the time (the ad prefix REALLY drops out); admixt gets dropped in favor of mix, and so forth. So it was that my eye fell upon, “admirize” and I assumed it was an early form of “admire.” But alas, foiled again! Admirize is actually a rare word meaning to wonder, coming from the French admirer. And I’m really wondering about their quote:

1702 LOGAN in Pa. Hist. Soc. Mem. IX. 108 Orders to proclaim the queen have arrived in Virginia..but none here, which makes many admirize.

Why didn’t they proclaim the Queen? What happened? Why were the so un-admissive (Characterized by admitting; tending to admit) of their monarch? I shall admove (To move to or towards; rare) Pennsylvania and demand they great their monarch with proper respect. If only Max had come through and invented that time machine so I could ad-time travel.

Get in line, Pennsylvania, before I continue to adnote (To note, remark, observe; rare obs) your failings!

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