Saturday, February 10, 2007

WORD A DAY

GRUDGING: 1: unwilling, reluctant 2: done, given, or allowed unwilling, reluctantly, or sparingly

More than 500 years have passed since English jurist Sir John Fortescue observed that some people "obtayne gretter rewardis than thei have disserved, and yet grugge, seying they have (too) litill." Fortescue's "grugge" (an early spelling of the verb "grudge") meant "to grumble and complain," just like its Middle English forerunner, gruccen, and the Anglo-French grucer that gave rise to the English forms. English-speakers had adopted the "complaining" sense of "grudge" by the late 1400s and by 1500 they had added the extended sense "reluctant." That second sense may have developed because people associated "grudge" with the related word "begrudge" (meaning "to give reluctantly"). "Grudging," which developed from "grudge," made its English debut around 1533.

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