Word of the Day : September 12, 2011


verb per-PEND


1 : to reflect on carefully : ponder

2 : to be attentive : reflect

Did You Know?

"Perpend" isn't used often these days, but when it does show up it is frequently imperative, as in our second example. As such, its use can be compared to the phrase "mark my words." "Perpend" arrived in English in the 15th century from the Latin verb "perpendere," which in turn comes from "pendere," meaning "to weigh." Appropriately, our English word essentially means "to weigh carefully in the mind." "Pendere" has several descendants in English, including "append," "compendium," "expend," and "suspend." "Perpend" can also be a noun meaning "a brick or large stone reaching through a wall" or "a wall built of such stones," but that "perpend" comes from a Middle French source and is unrelated to the verb.


"The man perpended, and when he replied did so after the style of the late and great Ollendorf." -- From P. G. Wodehouse's 1903 book A Prefect's Uncle

"I find the practice [of astrology] harmless, and it occasionally serves as a handy social ice-breaker. But it could be based on outdated material. Perpend: Astrological 'signs' are based on the sun's position in the zodiac during the year. But astrology is an ancient art, and in the passage of time, the earth's axis has 'wobbled' (precession) enough so that the sun is actually one constellation over from the astrological sign." -- From a column piece by Mark R. Kent in the Mobile Register (Alabama), January 11, 2009

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