Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives


A Random Word From the Archives

Want another word? Refresh this page

Permanent link for this word: dispositive


Jun 9, 2014
This week's theme
Words that aren't what they appear to be

This week's words
dispositive
holograph
plutarchy
reproof
votary

Have your say
in our discussion forum
Wordsmith Talk
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The Lord Privy Seal is neither a lord, nor a privy, nor a seal (it's a British cabinet minister's title). The Holy Roman Empire, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire (it was Germanic). There's no law against naming yourself anything you want. You may be inducing cancer in your customers by peddling carcinogenic products to them, but you can still call yourself Altria because it hints of altruism: unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

This week we'll see five words that aren't what they appear to be.

dispositive

PRONUNCIATION:
(dis-POZ-i-tiv)

MEANING:
adjective: Relating to or bringing about the settlement of a case.

ETYMOLOGY:
From dispose, from Old French disposer, from Latin disponere (to arrange), from dis- (apart) + ponere (to put). Ultimately from the Indo-European root apo- (off or away), which is also the source of pose, apposite, after, off, awkward, post, puny, apposite, and apropos. Earliest documented use: 1483.

USAGE:
"The Justice Department subsequently asked the National Academy of Sciences to re-examine the Dictabelt evidence and it concluded it was not dispositive, which naturally led to years of debate among forensic acoustic experts."
Ron Rosenbaum; Seeing Zapruder; Smithsonian (Washington, DC); Oct 2013.

"Marilyn Yalom supplements her summaries of love in French culture with lively, if hardly dispositive, anecdotes from her own encounters with France and the French.
How the French Invented Love; The New Yorker; Feb 4, 2013.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it. -Charles Dickens, novelist (1812-1870)

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith