Definition of pertain
- the destruction pertaining to war
- rights that pertain to fatherhood
- which rule pertains?
- books pertaining to birds
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books pertaining to the country's history
the belief that quality medical care is a right that pertains to everyone
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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.
: to relate to someone or something : to have a connection to a person or thing
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