Word of the Day : February 9, 2019

prescind

play
verb prih-SIND

Definition

1 : to withdraw one's attention

2 : to detach for purposes of thought

Did You Know?

Prescind derives from the Latin verb praescindere, which means "to cut off in front." Praescindere, in turn, was formed by combining prae- ("before") and scindere ("to cut" or "to split"). So it should come as no surprise that when prescind was first used during the 17th century, it referred to "cutting off" one's attention from a subject. An earlier (now archaic) sense was even clearer about the etymological origins of the word, with the meaning "to cut short, off, or away" or "to sever." Other descendants of scindere include rescind ("to take back or make void") and the rare scissile ("capable of being cut").


Examples

"But to frame an abstract idea of happiness, prescinded from all particular pleasure, or of goodness, from everything that is good, this is what few can pretend to." — George Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710

"Nooyi prescinded from the share price-obsessed practices associated with most conglomerates—and instead said she was focused on making PepsiCo the kind of company that would deliver a 'lasting impact' to society." — Edmund Heaphy, Quartz, 6 Aug. 2018



Test Your Vocabulary

What 5-letter adjective beginning with "a" means "removed or distant either physically or emotionally"?

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!