Set 23 – Five New Words for Jan 23

Theme – Verbs

In English the verb goes in the middle of a sentence (I love you), while some languages relegate it to the end (I you love). This may sound preposterous to those not familiar with such a language (Hindi, Japanese, among others), but it’s quite common.

In fact, the largest percentage of languages prefer the verb at the end (45%), followed by the middle placement (43%). The remaining 12% of the languages stick the verb out front (Fijian, Irish, etc.).

Like much in a language, there is no particular reason behind these varied placements. A front placement for a verb doesn’t imply that speakers of that language give more importance to the action compared to those who put it at the end. Sometimes things just are.

But wherever the verb sits, it brings life to a sentence. And this week we’ll bring five verbs to life in A.Word.A.Day.

1. ratiocinate (rash-ee-OS-uh-nayt, rat-ee-)

verb intr.: To reason, especially in a methodical manner.

“But we’re here to see Downey [playing Sherlock Holmes] ratiocinate his way in and around the movie.”

2. redound (ri-DOUND)

verb intr.:
1. To contribute to (someone’s credit, honor, etc.).
2. To come back upon.

“The Prime Minister stated that such an arrangement could redound to the benefit of Barbadians.”

“MIT officials fear that the explosion in the harbor will redound badly on Tech.”

3. daunt (dahnt)

verb tr.: To intimidate; to dishearten or discourage.

“Constant attacks by the Dolphins didn’t daunt the Eagles’ defensive line.”

4. exculpate (EK-skuhl-payt, ek-SKUHL-)

verb tr.: To clear of guilt or blame.

“It did not exculpate a killer from responsibility, but it did save them from the gallows.”

5. perdure (puhr-DOOR, -DYOOR)

verb intr.: To continue to exist; endure.

“The regime is gone; the images perdure.”


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