Thursday, March 7, 2013

Language of Confusion: -jected

I’ve actually done a couple of –ject words when I did partsof speech, but I didn’t really get into it and besides. That was over a year ago.

The first thing you should all know is that every –ject word is related to jet. Not the black jet (which is from something else entirely) but the jet that gives us a plane flying through the sky. The word for plane actually came about because jet also means a stream of water and that got attached to jet propulsion. That jet comes from the French jeter, which means throw, taken from a Middle Frenchword with the same meaning. As always, the word comes from Latin, in this case the Late Latin iectare. It can even be traced back to the Proto Indo Europeanye-, which means to do. For more on why j replaced i, go see my post on the letter j. Basically, j used to be a variation of i, and an incorrect pronunciation stuck so it became “juh”.

First showed up in the fifteenth century from the classical Latineiectus/eicere, throw out. Which makes total sense since –ject is throw and the e comes from ex-, out.

Object, as in a thing, showed up in the late fourteenth century, while the other object (as in, “I object”) came about in the early fifteenth century. Both come from the classical Latin obiectus, which meant both “lying before” and “opposite”. Those different meanings are because the verb form they stem from, obicere, can be taken both literally and figuratively. Obicere combines the prefix ob-“against” with the ject “throw”, making it throw against, so it can be an item in your way (where thing object comes from) or ideal in your way (where the oppose object comes from).

Showed up in the early fifteenth centuryfrom the classical Latin reiecus/reicere. The re- means “back” so it literally means “throw back”. You know. Like a query.

Showed up in the early seventeenth centuryfrom the Latin iniectus/inicere. The in- prefix means exactly what you think so it’s “throw in”. Not exactly a throw, but you get the idea.

This is another one that’s somewhat complicated because of multiple meanings. Project as in something that sticks out showed up in 1718—three centuries after the plan project showed up. Project comes from the classical Latin proiectum/proiectus, which means something thrown forward (forward coming from pro-). It seems it was always taken figuratively (an idea thrown forward) until that day in the eighteenth century when people decided to also start using it literally as something that is thrown (sticking) out.

Showed up in the early fourteenth century. Comes from the Latin subiectus/subicere, to place under. I assume you recognize sub-as a popular synonym for under. The reason why a topic is also called a subject is because it’s short for “subject matter” because of the Medieval Latinphrase subjecta materia, a translation of a Greek term for “that which lies beneath”, i.e. the material beneath.

Showed up in the 1570sfrom interiectus/intericere. Inter-means between making it “throw between”.

Showed up in the early fifteenth centuryfrom the Latin deiectus/deicere. It’s a combination of de- (down) and eicere (throw), making it throw/cast down. Originally, it’s meaning was literal.

One of the words I talked about back in 2011! It’s from adiectivus/adicere, throw or place near (the ad- means towards). An adjective is placed near a verb : ).

The noun showed up in the late fourteenth century and the verb form a little after that. It comes from the classical Latin coniectura, conclusion or interpretation, from coniectus/conicere, throw together (one of con-’s meanings). What’s being thrown together just happens to be facts.

Showed up in the 1690s from the Latin trajectoria, from traiectus/traicere, or throw across (the tra comes from trans-, which means across or beyond).

For those who don’t know, it means wretched of despicable. It showed up in the early fifteenth centuryfrom the Latin abiectus/abicere. It means to throw away, a combination of throw and the away from ab-. The throw away/castoff definition is taken figuratively, of course.

Yes, it’s a word. It means to incorporate the feelings or ideas of others to oneself (it’s a psychology thing). It showed up in 1866 and unlike the others, has no Latin equivalent. Most likely the “jection” was taken from projection and combined with the prefix “intro”, which means within.

Whew! That was another big one. Anyone make it to the end?



  1. "Reject: it literally means “throw back”. You know. Like a query."
    ROFL xD

    Girl, when you do a word study, you don't mess around! :)

  2. Make it to the end? No. Sorry. Late night.

    Seriously, it fascinates me how the words we use for modern technology (like a jet plane) comes from something that's old.

  3. Trajectory catches my interest as a word. Not surprising that its roots go back that far.


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