Posted: 05 July 2017 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  821
Joined  2013-10-14

Perhaps of common knowledge, or already discussed on this well-informed forum, but on my daily perusal of words I learned about the interesting and revelatory etymology of explode:


Etymology: < classical Latin explōdere, variant of explaudere to drive out by clapping, hiss (a player) off the stage, to eject, cast out, to reject, condemn, in post-classical Latin also to abolish (4th cent.), to burst (from 8th cent. in British sources; 16th cent. in continental sources), to show up, expose (from 8th cent. in British sources) < ex- ex- prefix1 + plaudere plaud v.

Compare German explodieren to reject, discard (1539), (reborrowed < English) (of a substance) to burst (1808).

Compare slightly earlier explosion n.; the semantic development of the two words has been closely linked. Compare also explose v.
With the use in sense 2b compare French †exploder, in same sense (1611 in Cotgrave; rare); the French verb for ‘to explode’ is exploser (1801).
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†1.  trans.
Thesaurus »

a. To reject or discard (something, esp. an opinion, proposal, or custom). Obs.


Origin: A borrowing from Latin. Etymons: Latin explōsiōn-, explōsiō.

Etymology: < classical Latin explōsiōn-, explōsiō driving (of a play) off the stage, in post-classical Latin also action of exploding with a loud noise under the influence of suddenly developed internal energy (1664 or earlier), sudden burst of animal spirits or an expansion of nerves or muscles resulting from this (1664 or earlier) < explōs- , past participial stem of explōdere explode v. + -iō -ion suffix1.

Compare Middle French, French explosion sudden bursting or shattering (1701), explosive utterance of a sound (1767; 1581 in sense ‘sudden attack of pathological symptoms’).
The semantic development has been closely linked with that of explode v.
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Thesaurus »

1. Originally: †the action or an act of rejecting or discarding something (obs.). Later: the action or an act of discrediting or disproving a theory, myth, etc. Cf. explode v. 1a, 3.

Posted: 05 July 2017 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  4627
Joined  2007-01-29

That is a wonderful etymology!  If I knew it, I’d forgotten it.  (I probably did, and did.)

Posted: 05 July 2017 10:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  2654
Joined  2007-02-19

Wonderful indeed. I was astonished to learn that the sense of “a myth exploded” long antedates the sense of a physical explosion: I’d always assumed the opposite to be the case.

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