deletible, indelible, delible

Political rants forwarded by your brother-in-law and ads for male enhancement devices can clutter your e-mailbox. But don’t worry; they’re deletible. Well, “deletible” may not be in the dictionary, but it’s a nonce-word thanks to that productive morpheme –ble.

Hold on, we may not have to coin a new word. There already is one meaning ‘capable of being deleted.’

We know about indelible ink and indelible memories, but when have you heard of anything being “delible”? “Indelible” sounds like one of those lonely negatives without a positive partner. But during the 17th and 18th centuries the word “delible,” meaning ‘capable of being rubbed out or effaced’ was used in English. Why don’t you see it or hear it any more? It was delible.

Delible comes from the Latin dēlēbil-is that may be blotted out, < dēlēredelete’ and -ble suffix.  So there you go: the perfect word to describe spam.

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Lexie Kahn: Word Snooper is a blog about words and their origins at WordSnooper.com.
This entry was posted in etymology, words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to deletible, indelible, delible

  1. Doing a search through onelook.com, I found deletable included in dictionary.com, which says it is based on the Random House Dictionary. I didn’t, however, find the word in my magnifying-glass-included edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

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