Do You Have to Be “Jected” Before You Can Be “Rejected”?

We interrupt our discussion of contranyms to tackle this question from author Tsgoyna Tanzman: “In order to be rejected do you first have to be jected?

‘‘Fortunately,” she continues, “I don’t think I’ve been jected of any kind lately, including dejected. Oh, but maybe I was. Do blood tests count? I know shots do.”

Shots are “injected,” but you wouldn’t really say blood samples are “ejected.”

“Reject,” “deject,” “inject” and “eject” all have the same root, “-ject,” which comes from Latin iacere ‘to throw.’ The prefix “re-“ means ‘back’ or ‘again.’  When you “reject” something you ‘throw [it] back,’ like an undersized fish. In the 13th century the word was used to refer to an animal kicking backwards and to vomiting.

The adjective “abject” entered English later through French. The prefix “ab-“ means ‘away,’ so the word referred to a person ‘cast down or rejected.’ “Deject” is to ‘throw down.’ “Inject” is literally to ‘throw in’; “eject” is to ‘throw out’ and “project” is to ‘throw forward.’

But wait: there’s more. An “object” is something ‘thrown before the senses or the mind.’ “Subject,” in the sense of ‘one who is under the dominion of a monarch,’ came into Middle English by way of Old French from Latin subjectus ‘brought under,’ past participle of subicere, from sub- ‘under’ + iacere ‘throw.’ Then there’s “conjecture,” ‘a conclusion derived from comparison of facts’ that are thrown together:  con- ‘together’ + iacere ‘throw.’

If no one objects to the subject I’ll inject still more words derived from iactare next time.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in etymology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s