Thursday, May 18, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Dur-

Seriously, dur. Because there are words like during and durable, but also endure. What the hell’s the deal with this word?

During, endure, durable, duration, duress,

During showed up in the late fourteenth century as durand, which was the present participle of the verb duren, which we don’t even use anymore. Duren meant to endure, so I guess that’s what replaced it, and it comes from the Old French durer and classical Latin durare, to last. Durare is related to durus, hard, which is from the Proto Indo European dru-ro- or deru, solid or steadfast. It’s the origin word for true. And tree.

Yeah. Words. Next, endure also showed up in the late fourteenth century coming from the Old French endure, which could mean harden, tolerate/bear, or maintain. It’s from the classical Latin indurare, harden. That word is a mix of in-, or in, as we know it as, and durus, which you should recognize from the previous paragraph.

The rest of the words are more dur- with different endings. Durable is another from the late fourteenth century from the Old French durable and classical Latin durabilis, also durable. It’s basically just duras with a different ending, like durable is during with a different ending. Duration is almost exactly the same origin. Fourteenth century, Old French duration, which came to us from the Latin durare via the Medieval Latin durationem (so that’s where we got the -tion part). Finally, duress. Also fourteenth century, Old French duresse, classical Latin duritia, hardness, and obviously that’s from duras.

And that’s the -dur words. Durr.



  1. I guess trees are hard and long-lasting, so that makes sense.

  2. Pretty straightforward for a change. I guess these words endure. (I know, bad, bad comment.)

  3. I feel under duress due to the duration of the current administration, but I will endure because I am durable.

  4. Duren sounds like something out of Tolkien.


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