Thursday, July 8, 2021

Language Of Confusion: -Cept, Redux, Part III

Time to finish off the -cept words! Again! We’ll probably be looking at it again in another ten years or so.
Accept first showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the Old French accepter and classical Latin acceptare, accept and its verb form accipere, to take or receive. Now, as I’m sure you remember from the previous weeks, the cipere is from capere, to take, catch, or seize, from the Proto Indo European kap-, to grasp. The prefix comes from ad-, to, meaning accept means to take to. Makes sense, right?
Except also showed up in the late fourteenth century, except (ha!) back then it was spelled excepten and it meant to receive. It comes from the Old French excepter, from the classical Latin exceptus, with the verb form excipere, which basically meant except in the sense to take something out (as in, to make an exception). That ex- means out, and with capare, the word is to take out. When you take something out, it’s an exception.
Next we’re looking at susceptible, as while suscept is technically a word, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used (and it doesn’t have a post on the etymology website). Susceptible showed up in the seventeenth century, coming from the Late Latin susceptibilis, which could mean capable or sustainable as well as susceptible. It’s from the classical Latin suscipere, which could mean accept as well as to take or receive. The sub- prefix means up from under, and with capere, to take, this word becomes to take from under. So susceptible is… to take from under-able? It’s weird how that almost makes sense.
Precept is another one that showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the Old French percept/percet and classical Latin praeceptum, command. That’s from the verb praecipere, which is to command, from prae, before and capere. So this word is to take before. Not really sure how you get command from that, but whatever.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Orbis Latinus


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