Word of the Day : December 31, 2011


adjective uh-MEE-nuh-bul


1 : liable to be brought to account : answerable

2 a : capable of submission (as to judgment or test) : suited

b : readily brought to yield, submit, or cooperate

c : inclined or favorably disposed in mind : willing

Did You Know?

"Amenable" is a legacy of Anglo-French and derives ultimately from Latin "minari," meaning "to threaten." Since 1596, English speakers have been using it in courtrooms and writings of law with the meaning "answerable," as in "citizens amenable to the law." It later developed the meanings "suited" ("a simple function . . . which is perfectly amenable to pencil-and-paper arithmetic" -- Nature, April 1973) and "responsive" (as in "mental illnesses that are amenable to drug therapy"). It also came to be used of people with a general disposition to be agreeable or complaisant -- like Mr. Dick in David Copperfield, who was "the most friendly and amenable creature in existence." Nowadays, "amenable" is often used to describe someone who is favorably disposed to a particular named something.


Stacy hinted to her husband that she was amenable to the idea of staying home on New Year’s Eve instead of going out.

"[Lance] Lowery said he wasn't disappointed by the offerings, and that fellow shoppers were surprisingly civil. 'Parking wasn't bad at all. People have been amenable. The sales staff is great. I thought it was going to be crazy, but everyone's been very patient.'" -- From an article by Jill Cowan and Courtenay Edelhart in The Bakersfield Californian, November 25, 2011

Word Family Quiz

What 6-letter descendant of "minari" means "a danger or a nuisance"? The answer is ...


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