Gruntled, Kempt, and Whelmed

A few weeks ago on this blog, we discussed the origins of the word disheveled and why you can’t properly be heveled. But disheveled is not the only English word with a mysterious root affixed to a common prefix. Dishabille, like disheveled, came into English from French. The French word déshabillé is from the past participle of déshabiller, “to undress.” In the case of dishabille, the word entered English whole, and its French root habiller, “to clothe,” did not make the language jump.

While some roots don’t cross over from their language of origin, others fall out of use. In Modern English you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but being whelmed is out of style. Whelm is entered in the American Heritage Dictionary with an Archaic label, meaning this sense is no longer in current use in English. It means to cover with water or to submerge, and it comes from the Middle English whelmen, to overturn,” which is derived from Old English hwelfan, “to cover over.”

Disgruntle is another example of a common prefix affixed to a root that is not in use. Gruntle is from the Middle English gruntelen, which is a form of the verb grunten, “to grunt.” Given this origin, one might guess that disgruntled would mean “not grunting” and by extension, not upset (as grunts are typically noises of discontent). However, the dis- here is used as an intensive, yielding disgruntle’s common meaning today, “to make discontented.”

In some cases with well-known prefixes appearing before unfamiliar roots, the root develops a life of its own through a process known as back-formation. Back-formation is when a new word is created by the removal of an affix (or sometimes, by the removal of something mistakenly thought to be an affix) from an existing word. Couth from uncouth and kempt from unkempt are two examples of this. Couth (spelled cūth) was an Old English word while kempt (spelled kembed) was a Middle English word. Both fell into disuse, only to reemerge in Modern English through back-formation.

Thank you for visiting the American Heritage Dictionary at ahdictionary.com!

i know i say this a lot and that its probably annoying to most people but. i feel so very lucky to know hevel hes my best friend and hes family to me i wuv him

remember when i made a fake callout for hevel and one of the screenshots was “im going to cannibalize oprah” and 5 people unfollowed him

before i take a nap or go to bed. i love my bestfriend so much hevel is so nice and kind to me and i love talking to him sm. i feel. very lucky and am so thankful that we got the chance to meet hes helped me out so much and is such a great friend 

anonymous asked:

can i follow if i hate hevel

NO. i know this is probably a joke but i swear to god if i catch anyone talking shit about him im blocking you and all of your friends 

anonymous asked:

i think youre a rlly cool person and i always enjoy ur blog and your friendship w hevel. a treasured mutual 👍

im glad our banter is entertaining.. thank you