Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Word of the Day 9/14/2010

Countermand (verb)
1: to revoke (a command) by a contrary order
2: to recall or order back by a superseding contrary order

Example: "From around the world, postcards poured in to then-U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton's office demanding that he countermand the order to prosecute." (Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times, February 25, 2010)

Did You Know?: In the military, one's mandate is to follow the commands (and sometimes the "countermands") of the officers. Doing their bidding is not particularly commendable -- it's simply mandatory. The Latin verb "mandare," meaning "to entrust" or "to order," is the authority behind "countermand." It's also behind the words "mandate," "command," "demand," "commend" (which can mean "to entrust" as well as "to praise"), and "mandatory." "Countermand" came to English via Anglo French, where the prefix "cuntre-" ("against") was combined with the verb "mander" ("to command"). It has been a part of our language since the 1400s.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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