Word of the Day

prescind

audio pronunciation
February 08, 2012
verb
\prih-SIND\
Definition
: to withdraw one's attention
Examples
If we prescind from the main issue for a moment, there is much to be gained by studying some corollary questions.

"For my purposes, we may happily prescind from the metaphysics." -- From John Collins' 2011 book The Unity of Linguistic Meaning
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Prescind" derives from the Latin verb "praescindere," which means "to cut off in front." "Praescindere," in turn, was formed by combining "prae-" ("before") and "scindere" ("to cut" or "to split"). So it should come as no surprise that when "prescind" began being used during the 17th century, it referred to "cutting off" one’s attention from a subject. An earlier (now archaic) sense was even clearer about the etymological origins of the word, with the meaning "to cut short, off, or away" or "to sever." Other descendants of "scindere" include "rescind" and the rare "scissile" ("capable of being cut").

Test Your Memory: What recent Word of the Day means "of, relating to, suggestive of, or resembling a lion"? The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears