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emprise (em-PRYZ) noun

1. A chivalrous or adventurous enterprise.

2. Chivalrous daring or skill.

[From Middle English, from Middle French, from Old French, from emprendre (to undertake), from Vulgar Latin imprendere, from Latin in- + prendere (to seize).]

The following seemingly unrelated words all derived the same Latin root and involve the idea of seizing: prehensile, prison, prize, pry, apprehend, comprehend, comprise, enterprise, pregnable, and surprise.

"He looked, and saw wide territory spread
Before him - towns, and rural works between,
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war,
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise.
John Milton, Paradise Lost: Eleventh Book, 1667.

"Thus did the politic chief touch all the secret springs of devotion, honour, and ambition in the bosoms of his martial audience, waking the mettle of the most sluggish before leading him on the perilous emprise."
William H. Prescott, History Of The Conquest Of Mexico, 1843.

This week's theme: miscellaneous words.


It's splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts. -Gustave Flaubert, novelist (1821-1880)

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