Word of the Day : May 16, 2019


verb KOUNT-er-mand


1 : to revoke (a command) by a contrary order

2 : to recall or order back by a superseding contrary order

Did You Know?

In the military, one's mandate is to follow the commands (and sometimes the countermands) of the officers. Doing their bidding is not particularly commendable—it's simply mandatory. The Latin verb mandare, meaning "to entrust" or "to order," is the authority behind countermand. It's also behind the words mandate, command, demand, commend (which can mean "to entrust" as well as "to praise"), and mandatory. Countermand came to English via Anglo French, where the prefix cuntre- ("against") was combined with the verb mander ("to command"). It has been a part of our language since the 1400s.


"Although the Special Counsel regulations may not permit the Acting Attorney General to countermand certain decisions made by the Special Counsel, the Special Counsel remains subject to the Acting Attorney General's plenary supervision." — Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post Blogs, 13 Aug. 2018

"The idea … was that there should be an extra layer of distance between the people and the choice of president—and that this layer should consist of a group of citizens (electors) who freely deliberate about the choice … with the outcome of those deliberations treated as legitimate by the people even when it countermands the result of the popular vote." — Damon Linker, The Week, 19 Sept. 2018

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete a word derived from Latin mandare that refers to a writ issued by a superior court commanding the performance of an act or duty: ma _ _ _ m _ _.



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