ineluctable
adj. incapable of being evaded

Today’s word might no seem so useful: it has, after all, many synonyms. Notably, it has the following, which share not only the same meaning, but seems remarkably similar as well: inescapable, inexorable, inevitable.

In fact, inexorable comes from the Latin exorare, or “to prevail upon.” Technically, the meaning is not “incapable of being evaded,” but “incapable of being dissuaded.” Its usage is synonymous with the Wednesday’s Word, however.

Inescapable comes from the Vulgar Latin excappare, a rhetorical phrase which means “to leave one’s pursuer with only one’s cape.”

Inevitable comes from the Latin evitare, “to avoid.”

Ineluctable, however, comes from the Latin eluctari, “to surmount.”

So, the words seem similar due to the similar prefixes and the beginning “e,” but in fact their original meanings are “unable to be dissuaded,” “unable to shunt” (literary), “unable to avoid,” and “unable to surmount,” which have all sort of coalesced into a bank of English synonyms.

§1376 · September 20, 2006 · Tags: ·

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