Friday, November 28, 2008

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

Welcome back to the fourth and final 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 and exhaustive arboreal word list of 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 have taken an etymological journey through teaching vocabulary from the simplest of the mittere derivatives to the most difficult. This exploration of English vocabulary concludes with GRE vocabulary.

Mitto, mittere, misi, missum--to send, abandon {mess, mit, muss}

Committo, committere, commisi, commissum--to pledge, join, send together

To manumit a slave is to etymologically "send" him off "by hand," via the Latin noun manus: {manu, main} hand, source of, et al.: manual, manipulate; manager; maneuver; legerdemain; and manuscript. Manumission is the "act of sending off by hand," the substantive or noun form of the verb manumit.

To remit payment is to "send" it "back" (via the Latin re: back, again) for something one has already received. The emolument that one remits is the remittance; if one does not pay what one owes (note that the English word "pay" derives from the Latin noun pax: peace; one etymologically makes "peace" with a merchant by paying for the goods received. Imagine a world where everyone paid what they owe; no more bailouts, and wouldn't we perhaps have the peace that we do not have now?) Most merchants, if not having received their due remittance within the customary net 30 (or immediately, as in retail and grocery stores, and most e-commerce sites) become unremitting in their insistence upon being reimbursed for that which they have given, thereby "not sending back" terms of peace, but instead become unremittent, that is, persistent and unrelenting, in their wanting to be paid, which, of course, is only just, if the merchant was on the up and up in the first place, as Ayn Rand states so cogently, coercively, and reasonably via her philosophy of Objectivism, delineated in her two great novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Rand's trenchant point is that the normal human being, if wanting a car, could hardly build one from scratch; it is only through mass production by the enterprising risk takers that most products available today even exist, which is clearly a wonderful service to those unwilling and unable to engage such said risk. I have a hard time with people who complain about sending a missive from one end of the country to the other for a whopping .41 via the United States Post Office; I could hardly drive from Virginia to California for 1000 times that price, even in a Prius.

If one receives a commission for something, one receives one's due "pledge" for services rendered; one can also receive a commission as in the authority to accomplish a specified task or duty to which one is "pledged" to do one's best. A ship, such as the Starship Enterprise, can also be commissioned into active duty, "pledged" to perform to its utmost; the Starship Enterprise also was at one time commissioned to be made, money having been "pledged" for its construction.

Some leaders, after they have served in a not particularly commendable way, demit, or relinquish their duty, "sending" themselves "from" office. Perhaps if pride didn't get in the way, or a false sense of shame, "demission" would occur much more often for the benefit of humankind. What's up with pride anyway? No fooling is going on here, after all...

Have you ever "sent" a missive, or letter, to someone that you wish you could have returned? Missives are sent practically on a quotidian, or daily basis, made much more manifest by the readiness of e-mail. A carefully handwritten epistle, or holograph (not to be confused with hologram, or 3-dimensional image on a 2-dimension surface) was less likely to contain egregious comments that might send a frienship into a tailspin, whereas the ubiquitous ease of e-mailing a friend allows for quick writing but less time for consideration of that which one has written; hence ease of writing can lead to difficulties, but also opens the door to much greater communication. A promissory missive can be particularly dicey if one has made a promise off the cuff with no real intention of fulfilling such an ephemeral declaration; this often happens when one purchases something that one cannot afford with the idea that 6 months before payments come due is a long ways away; impulse buying at its most insidious. When the promissory note comes due, usually and most poignantly when one is no longer even using the product so greatly coveted (instead coveting yet another), one wonders at one's fiduciary sanity.

So ends the discussion of mittere. It is now time for an intermission before I proceed onto my next topic, that of continuing the romance of Billy and Morgan. Cheers! Until then, check out this 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.