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Word of the Day : May 25, 2013

pertain

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verb per-TAYN

Definition

1 a : to belong as a part, quality, or function

b : to be appropriate to something

2 : to have reference

Examples

Maria keeps a journal of news articles that pertain to her interests.

"When filing, candidates received copies of the charter and the portion of the code that pertains to elections, said City Clerk Tina Flowers." - From an article by Eileen P. Duggan in South County Times, April 12, 2013



Did You Know?

"Pertain" comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin verb "pertinēre," meaning "to reach to" or "to belong." "Pertinēre," in turn, was formed by combining the prefix "per-" (meaning "through") and "tenēre" ("to hold"). "Tenēre" is a popular root in English words and often manifests with the "-tain" spelling that can be seen in "pertain." Other descendants include "abstain," "contain," "detain," "obtain," "maintain," "retain," and "sustain," to name a few of the more common ones. Not every "-tain" word has "tenēre" in its ancestry, though. "Ascertain," "attain," and "certain" are among the exceptions. And a few "tenēre" words don't follow the usual pattern: "tenacious" and "tenure" are two.

Test Your Memory

What former Word of the Day comes from the Latin word for "ten" and can mean "to cause great destruction or harm to"? The answer is …


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