Word of the Day : October 7, 2017

prehension

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noun pree-HEN-shun

Definition

1 : the act of taking hold, seizing, or grasping

2 : mental understanding : comprehension

3 : apprehension by the senses

Examples

"The CMC [carpometacarpal] joint of the thumb … performs a variety of movements necessary to perform prehension or grasping." — Mark McDonald, The South Platte Sentinel, 2 Aug. 2017

"The tongue is not, properly speaking, in man, an organ for the prehension of solid food, that office being performed by the hand, for which the opponent arrangement of thumb and fingers eminently fits it…." — Robert Bentley Todd, The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, 1852



Did You Know?

It's easy to grasp the origins of prehension—it descends from the Latin verb prehendere, which means "to seize" or "to grasp." Other descendants of prehendere in English include apprehend ("arrest, seize"), comprehend ("to grasp the nature or significance of"), prehensile ("adapted for seizing or grasping"), prison, reprise ("a repeated performance"), and reprisal ("a retaliatory act"). Even the English word get comes to us from the same ancient root that led to the Latin prehendere.



Word Family Quiz

What is the meaning of emprise, a relative of Latin prehendere?

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