or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, October 26, 2007

Get Used To It

Today's entry in my other blog uses a word that you really couldn't ever guess the source of, I think. I know I couldn't.

The word is "inure", which means "to acclimate to hardship or misery", or, less drastically, "to habituate": to become inured to cold is to learn to put up with it, whereas to become inured to your surroundings (the sense in which I used the word) is simply to become so accustomed to them that you fail to notice them.

"Inure" is the collapsed form of the phrase "in ure". (English has lots of these collapsed words: every "some-" compound such as "someone" started off as two words.) The "-ure" part of the word or phrase evolved from the Latin "opus", "work" (which is where the English word "opera" comes from: it simply means "works", and an opera is a collection of arias, choruses, and recitatives, each a little work on its own). So "inure" originally meant "at work" or "in use"; its meaning broadened to "customary" (a bit of a stretch, but you can see how it could have come about over the years), and from there it was a short step to "accustom".


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