Saturday, November 15, 2008

#2: mitto, mittere, misi, missum: send; abandon

Welcome back to the second edition of one of the most prolific Latin roots that give rise to multitudinous English vocabulary words, the Latin root: mitto, mittere, misi, missum—to send, abandon {mess, mit, muss}. A beautiful arboreal word list of all the English derivatives that come from this Latin root can be found on this Greek and Latin root words site; to see this Latin roots tree directly with all its attendant English vocabulary words, including many SAT and GRE prep words, see this Greek and Latin roots word tree. Latin verbs tend to be those classical parts of speech which have the most influence over word origin, the importance of which can be read about in its entirety at, that site which elucidates fully the importance of Greek and Latin roots over English vocabulary today.
In this series of posts I am taking an etymological journey through teaching vocabulary from the simplest of the mittere derivatives to the most difficult. This exploration of English vocabulary continues with SAT vocabulary; these SAT words are so prolific that I will devote two posts to their explication.

Mitto, mittere, misi, missum--to send, abandon {mess, mit, muss}
Committo, committere, commisi, commissum--to pledge, join, send together
Permitto, permittere, permisi, permissum--to allow to do, send through

If aught is amiss, it has been "sent away" when it should be present. Have you ever "omitted" a word in a document that you should have kept intact? Then you have also sent that "away," via the Latin preposition ob: against, away. This omission clearly then was something unluckily omissible, or "able to be sent away," although clearly against one's ultimate wishes. One could, of course, admit one's mistake, hence "sending" it toward appeasement; one could furthermore transmit it back to the writing one is preparing, "sending" it back "across" for purposes of reparation, assuming that such a thing could be done, that is, if it were indeed "transmissible;" this, of course, is no big deal in the age of the word processor, but was moliminous in the now obsolescent age of the typewriter. It has been noted by Shakespearean scholars that if Shakespeare had had access to a word processor, he would probably had written not 39 but closer to 400 plays...possibly a boon, but, since the human race is not even close to understanding Hamlet, perhaps an anachronistic blessing. If no data is loss in the transmission of the redaction, one could go back in time, as it were, fixing the document as if merely a blip of errata occurred, never again having a document with such an egregious omission ever again.
And what if one were to err on a holograph, or handwritten document, especially in an epistle to one's beloved, and that epistle had already been read by the shining eyes of the beautiful reader? Then one has a few courses of action. One could compromise, (concessions ‘sent forth together’ between two people to come to a mutual agreement) if she had been wrong about anything in the past; if this is not an admissible solution, that is, if it is inadmissible, that it, not able to be "sent" towards atonement, perhaps you could accuse her of being uncompromising in your willingness to be compromising, which would most likely send your relationship into the tailspin of remission, or the act of "sending" it backwards, even to the point of your beloved being completely dismissive in your presence, or "sending" you away or apart in a disregarding or indifferent sort of way, causing you to emit, or "send" out a series of bemoaning groans as you consider an intermission of her much-anticipated and relished kisses, that is, those belipped delicacies that, even though intermittent in the past, or being "sent" amongst your lips at irregular intervals, still they were sure to happen; now her anger leads her to noncommittal acts, or those "not pledged" at all, whereas before her tiff they were as committal as regular rain in a temperate wetland. Proust might be pleased.
Please stay tuned for next week's etymological divulging of even more SAT prep words that come from the root word mittere. With your permission, or act of "sending through" I will now cease and desist, sending the reader pleasantly off to the hinterlands of etymological rumination.
Interested in a classical Greek and Latin roots SAT word of the day, which includes SAT vocabulary based on Greek or Latin root words? Interested in seeing more of the Greek and Latin root word trees discussed above, or even a Greek and Latin roots poster? English vocabulary becomes transparent once one knows the word origins code of the English language, the vastest part of which is, bar none, Latin and Greek root words.