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There are a number of words where the "separated" form is unable to stand alone.

For example, while we may speak of someone being
"disgruntled," I do not ever recall seeing a happy person called "gruntled."

But I just came across an interesting "separt" (my term for a divisible word element): competitive eaters are sometimes called called "gurgitators," which seems like a back-formation from regurgitate.

Any other examples of inseparables? Or separts?


RJA
 
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Would you call a person who is not in disguise "cognito'?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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Absolutely! Added to the list!


RJA
 
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Is someone who is not inept, ept?

Wordmatic
 
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quote:
For example, while we may speak of someone being
"disgruntled," I do not ever recall seeing a happy person called "gruntled."

"Dis-" here is an intensifier, not a negative, so someone who is gruntled would not be happy, but less so than someone who was disgruntled. Smile "Gruntle" means, or meant, rather, to grunt like a pig, which unhappy people are sometimes wont to do.

"Inept" comes from the Latin ineptus meaning "not apt", so the opposite would be "apt".

This message has been edited. Last edited by: arnie,


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Arnie: Thanks for that! So one might say "He is gruntled, and will soon reach fully disgruntled?"

By the way, a few I've collected over time:
Deracinated
Disgruntled
Disgusted
Disheveled
Feckless (Scots call an effective person "feckful")
Gormless
Immaculate
Impeccable
Impugn
Inchoate
Incognito
Incorrigible
Ineffable
Inept
Inert
Inessive
Inexecrable
Inevitable
Inexorable
Inflammable
Intrepid (although trepidation)
Invincible
Reckless (cf. careless)
Ungainly
Unkempt (can a barber make one "kempt?")
Unremitting


RJA
 
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quote:

Inchoate


This is borrowed from Latin "incohāre" (to begin) - the "in" is not a negative but means "into" (as in "inundation"). It's also used as an intensifier.

quote:

Impugn
Inessive
Inflammable


The "im" and "in" in these words is not negative; it's the same suffix as the "in" in "inchoate".

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A lot of the words on the list come from other languages, principally Latin, where we have borrowed the negative sense, but the positive never made it into the English language.

Two take a couple of examples at random, "ineffable" comes from the Latin ineffabilis, "unutterable", although its Latin opposite, effabilis is not used in English. Similarly with "dishevelled", it comes from Old French descheveler, meaning "to disarrange the hair"; the des- prefix meant "apart" and chevel meant "hair".


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The esteemed Wordcraft community has of course identified the linguistic structures, but that still leaves the original humorous appeal of the "separts," as in:

"We shall grapple with the ineffable, and see if we may not eff it after all." — Douglas Adams in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency


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You can be uncouth but can you be couth?

An object can be undulating but if it stops is it dulating?

If we have ungulates, do we also have gulates


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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Proofreader:

Not sure I am, but in "The Land of Cockaygne" we read

"And the larks that are so couth
Fly right down into man’s mouth,"

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=...&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us


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PG Wodehouse, in at least one of the many Jeeves novels, describes Bertie (I think) as feeling "gruntled". I can't remember the details now.


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Hmm... From that page:
quote:
Haynes Goddard of Cincinnati writes to suggest that the verb disgruntle means ''to deprive of the opportunity to register dissatisfaction and complaint'' -- that is, to deny the release of a good, loud grunt, and thereby to make the would-be gruntler sullen. We don't know; the O.E.D. mysteriously lists disgruntle as appearing in 1682 and meaning ''to put into sulky dissatisfaction or ill humor.'' You might think that if the old gruntle meant ''complain,'' then disgruntle would mean ''to stop from complaining,'' but language is not always logical.
I'm not convinced; I'd say dis- is used as an intensive.

Nice to know I was right about Wodehouse, although Safire doesn't say who was gruntled.


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quote:

disgruntle


I agree with Arnie. According to the OED, the dis here is an intensifier. Safire doesn't mention this, even though he apparently looked up the word.

quote:

An object can be undulating but if it stops is it dulating?


Latin unda "wave"
quote:

If we have ungulates, do we also have gulates


Latin ungula "hoof"
 
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The word "gormless" is interesting. It means, stupid; slow to understand. But "gorm" means axle grease as a noun, or, as a verb, "To daub, as the hands or clothing, with gorm; to daub with anything sticky. [Prov. Eng.]" according to Webster's Unabridged.

The two words do not appear to be related. Someone who is intelligent and quick cannot be said to be "gorm."

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Might it be a quick witted person was "gormful," or "gormy," or even "gormalicious?"


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I've never even heard of "gormless" before, but I like it. The OED defines it as "wanting sense or discernment," which is a bit vague. Wanting discernment?

As for couth, we've discussed it before, but I think this is the best discussion .
 
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Oh, I like gormalicious! That would be a brilliant person daubed all over with axle grease! No. Chocolate syrup.

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Ah, and "Get Fuzzy" just presented a new one in their comic today: There is an incognito, but not a cognito.
 
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