Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Word: "condign"


from Word of the Day:

The Word of the Day for Dec 16 is:
condign \kun-DYNE\ adjective : deserved, appropriate

Example sentence: The principal felt that ordering Matthew to wax the gymnasium floor was a condign punishment for vandalizing the locker rooms.

Did you know?
In his 1755 Dictionary of the English Language, lexicographer Samuel
Johnson noted that "condign" was "always used of something deserved by crimes." Even today, it is most likely to be used to modify "punishment" or a related word such as "redress," "justice," or
"chastisement." And yet, "condign" (which traces to the Latin "com-," meaning "thoroughly," and "dignus," meaning "worthy") once meant "worthy" or "of equal worth or dignity" in English. How did such a
word get chained to "punishment"? It was apparently so condemned in the 1500s by the phraseology of the Tudor Acts of Parliament: "Former statutes . . . for lacke of condigne punishment . . . be littell
feared or regarded."

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