Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Language of Confusion: With A Vengeance

Anyone get that reference? It’s another movie. Not great, but far from the worst I’ve seen. That shall now and forever be Re-Animator.

Back to business. Entrance. Am I coming in or trying to hypnotize you? If I was speaking, you’d be able to tell. There is “en-trence” and “en-trance.” So what’s the story with that?

The entering a room entrance is Middle French. I mean exactly. It was basically a noun version of the Old French word entrer—enter. So instead of saying “he entered” they could say “his entrance.” If you want to go further (and of course you do), you need to look at entrance’s origin word mentioned above. Entrer and its Romance cousins are from the Latin (big surprise) word intrare, which means to go in. It is derived from another Latin word inter—among. Among you ask? Yes. I suppose you could it’s like how if you enter a conversation, you are among the speakers. Make sense? I hope so.

We can go further, you know. Inter is from the Proto-Indo-European…enter. Yes, that’s right. It’s back to its ancestor. If you take it apart by syllable, it has en, i.e. in. As in, the opposite of out. The ter, I suppose, is a variation, like adding the –tion to make something a noun. It is “coming in” instead of just “in.”

Now the other one, the hypnotize one. That one is a little easier, and it explains the different pronunciations. Like its twin, the en- is from the Old French en, and the Latin in. Obviously, the second part of the word comes from the word trance. So it means putting in to a trance. En…trance.

In the end, I would have to say this one is just a coincidence, which also means the pronounciation differences make sense. The origins are a nounizing (I love making up words) of enter (enter + ance) and a prefix to a word to indicate putting into (en + trance). Still interesting, though : )

Again, gratitude to Douglas Harper’s Online Etymology website.


  1. Sorry I missed the blogfest. But I love how you school us on word origins. I always find it fascinating.

  2. I like your picking apart of words to figure out where they come from.

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  3. I don't know if I completely follow, but I think I did learn something. Thanks for dropping by my blog today.

  4. Interesting and I did learn about different words.Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. Hi,
    Back again. I would be interested in an MS Swap.
    That would be great!
    Have a good day.


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