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The meaning of joy

The word “enjoy” is a really neat word. What do you enjoy? (I keep a running list of over 500 things that I enjoy).

Take a look at etymology of the word “enjoy”

en: to cause a person to be in.

joy: equiv. to gaud- (base of gaudēre to be glad)

Enjoy means to cause a person to be in a state of gladness. NEAT!

It’s really interesting to look at what the prefix “en-” on

a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from French and productive in English on this model, forming verbs with the general sense “to cause (a person or thing) to be in” the place, condition, or state named by the stem;

more specifically, “to confine in or place on” (enshrine; enthrone; entomb); “to cause to be in” (enslave; entrust; enrich; encourage; endear);

“to restrict” in the manner named by the stem, typically with the additional sense “on all sides, completely” (enwind; encircle; enclose; entwine).

This prefix is also attached to verbs in order to make them transitive, or to give them a transitive marker if they are already transitive (enkindle; enliven; enshield; enface).

5 Responses to The meaning of joy

  1. Matt Maldre May 13, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    this post about “enjoy” was inspired by a comment in the previous blog post.

  2. Lisa Schryver May 13, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    This is why i heart Latin-based languages like French (sorry, German, your language is neat, too). There are a lot of similarities between English and the Romance languages. However, I just did a wiki search for a list of the Latin-based languages, and to my surprise, English is NOT one of them. I always thought it was. In actuality, English is a mishmash of of several languages, Latin being one of them. More from Merriam-Webster: P.S. Spud — I’m enjoying the etymology lessons!

  3. Matt Maldre May 13, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    English is a mishmash–just like the mashup culture we live in now. how fitting!

  4. Lisa Schryver May 13, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    My thoughts exaactly!

  5. Matt Maldre May 13, 2009 at 11:43 am #


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