Welcome to another edition of Word Nerd Wednesday 🙂 And a special welcome to my first ever guest for Word Nerd Wednesday: Angela K. Couch. Angela’s first full-length novel, The Scarlet Coat, released last week (you can read my review here), and I thought, “Why not see if Angela has come across a word in her research that she would like to share with us.”
As it happens, she did. And she would! And the word she’s going to share with us is misdoubt. It may look like a fairly self-explanatory word, but stick around for a minute and you might be surprised…
Over to you, Angela!
While researching and writing about the American Colonial/Revolutionary War era, I come across many interesting words. Some ‘I reckon’ are still in use in select areas of the English speaking world, while others have changed, been simplified, or gone completely.
Raised with the King James Version of the Bible, many Old English words are not unfamiliar to me, but some still give me pause. One such word is “misdoubt.” First recorded in the mid-1500s, “misdoubt” is a verb that means: “to have doubts (of the reality of something)”
I must admit my mind still stumbles over this word when I see it because, while in this case the prefix “mis” is used to intensify the verb already negative, I’m used to the modern use of “mis” in making positive verbs negative.
Thanks Angela! Interestingly, this also helped answer one of my husband’s oft-asked questions: “If someone can be disgruntled, does that mean the opposite is being gruntled?”
The answer to that is, “No.” As with misdoubt, the prefix dis acts as an intensifier. To gruntle used to mean to grumble. So to be disgruntled was to be REALLY grumbly.
Of course, there are also many words in the English language where the negative prefix is added to a word taken from another language—such as dishevelled, unkempt, and nonchalant—giving us no direct opposite in English, but I think we’ll save that for another time, yes? 🙂
What other words can you think of that have a negative prefix, but no direct opposite in English? For example, you can be inept, but not ept; discombobulated but not combobulated. (Lol! I just love the thought of being combobulated! I think I might use it anyway 🙂 ) What’cha got for me?
~About Angela ~
Angela K Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada with her “hero” and three munchkins.