Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Word of the Day


Perhaps we could chat about some words that just don't sound like they should be what they are. Emolument falls into that category for me.

Pronunciation: \i-ˈmäl-yə-mənt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin emolumentum advantage, from emolere to produce by grinding, from e- + molere to grind — more at meal
Date: 15th century

1: the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites
2 archaic: advantage

The word sounds to me like it should refer to a form of a liniment, something that soothes aches (perhaps because of mollify?), and if not that, to something that goes in a sandwich (cousin, perhaps, to condiment).

I find especially interesting that the etymology shows the word meaning, literally, "to produce by grinding."

Who here hasn't — at least at some point — found his or her means of earning an emolument a real grind? It's probably no accident that the two words – "emolument" and the colloquial "grind" -- are so closely related.

What words just don't sound right to you – don't sound like they should mean what they mean?

Thanks to Bitty for today's WOTD entry

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