Friday, March 16, 2007


I've been remiss in keeping up with the actual wotd in favor of other words, or even other work (go figure that I can't make entries 24/7). This word didn't inspire me when it came in, and still doesn't really. I was originally going to compare this word with "mull", but mull had a sketchy etymology according to DD from "perhaps...a dialect" of something, and OED was (and still is) too heavy and awkward for me to want to dig it out just to make work. Ponder comes from weighing, originally things and now ideas. Cogitate derives from the same root as agitate, "agere", to drive or set in motion. The prefix "co" more likely means "with intensive force" or "completely" than merely "with" or "together", giving the weight to the thought involved, but it is still odd how "to drive or set in motion" becomes "to think", except as the second definition, "to devise" becomes the idea completely formed and set in motion, and then the process of creating such a well-formed idea became a subsidiary definition about how hard the thought process must be. So, really, we should cogitate a plan for how to deal with poor word usage rather than merely cogitate about the poor word usage. Maybe that's why the thinking process requires a preposition afterward to make the verb work (i.e., about, on), whereas the devising process takes the verb without idiom. She cogitated on the judged's biased decision to determine the issues for reconsideration. But she cogitated how she would draft the motion without offending the judge, since she would have to appear before the judge again. Still, I prefer to muse on such lofty issues, and devise my own plans. Words for another day...

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