Word of the Day : April 18, 2011

condign

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adjective kun-DYNE

Definition

: deserved, appropriate

Did You Know?

In his 1755 Dictionary of the English Language, lexicographer Samuel Johnson noted that "condign" was "always used of something deserved by crimes." Even today, it is most likely to be used to modify "punishment" or a related word, such as "redress," "justice," or "chastisement." And yet, "condign" (which traces to Latin "com-," meaning "thoroughly," and "dignus," meaning "worthy") once meant "worthy" or "of equal worth or dignity" in English. How did such a word get chained to "punishment"? It was apparently so condemned in the 1500s by the phraseology of the Tudor Acts of Parliament: "Former statutes … for lacke of condigne punishment … be littell feared or regarded."


Examples

A suspension without pay is condign punishment for breaking the company's code of business ethics.

"Kara Mustafa's failure, ignominious retreat and condign punishment were greeted with glee in Western Europe." -- From Andrew Wheatcroft's 2009 book The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe



Word Family Quiz

Which of the following is not a relative of "condign": "deign," "dignity," "indignant," or "paradigm"? The answer is ...


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