or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In Here

Yesterday I used a word, "inherently", which immediately grabbed my attention, because I knew that it was descended from a now-uncommon word, "inhere".

It calls to mind, does it not, "adhere"? To adhere is to stick to something; "ad-" is Latin for "toward" or simply "to", and "-here" is from the verb "haerere", "to cling or stick", so "adhere" is "to stick to"; simplicity itself.

"Inhere" means literally "to stick inside", and what it means in English is "to be an intrinsic part of: to be innate".

That's all interesting enough, but what's entirely fascinating is that a form of the verb "haerere" is "haesitare", and a form of that is "haesitat-", and doesn't that look familiar? It ought to: it's essentially "hesitate". And why does "hesitate" come from a word meaning "to cling"? Because when you're hesitating over a decision, you're clinging to the old way of doing things.

And this is almost as good: wouldn't you think that "inherit" somehow had descended from "inhere"? I did, briefly. (Your inheritance is something that...stuck to you...after your parents died?) Not even close. The "-her-" in "inherit" is the same as the word "heir", from Latin "hereditare", "to inherit", which also gave us "heredity".


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