15 “Positions” and Their Variations

By Mark Nichol

Position, as a verb meaning “set” or “place” and as a noun referring to the attitude or location in which something is set or placed, is derived from the Latin verb ponere, as are a number of terms using that word as a base to form new meanings revealed more or less transparently by their prefixes. A list of these verbs and nouns, as well as a few related adjectives, plus simple definitions and their literal meanings for each word, are included here.

appose: put near (“set near”)
apposite: appropriate, well placed (“set near”)
apposition: noun or noun phrases with the same meaning set adjacent to each other, or that relationship; also, proximity, or the deposition of layers (“something set near”)
compose: create (“set with”)
composer: a creator (“one who sets with”)
composite: made of different parts (“set with”)
composition: a creation (“something set with”)
decompose: disintegrate (“removing something from being set with”)
decomposition: disintegration (“something removed from being set with”)
depose and deposit: put down (“remove from being set”)
deposit and deposition: something put down (“something removed from being set”)
dispose: put away (“set away”)
disposal and disposition: the act of putting something away; disposition also refers to an attitude, mood, or tendency (“something set away”)
expose: show (“set out”)
exposition: something shown (“something set out”)
expository: shown (set out”)
impose: place pressure on someone (“set on”)
imposition: pressure placed on someone (“something set on”)
interpose: interrupt or place between (“set between”)
interposition: interruption or placement between (“something set between”)
juxtapose: place together for comparison (“set beside”)
juxtaposition: placement together for comparison (“something set beside”)
oppose: disagree (“set against”)
opposite: against (“set against”)
opposition: disagreement (“something set against”)
presuppose: assume or require something is true, exists, or will happen (“set on before”)
presupposition: an assumption that something is true, exists, or will happen (“something set on before”)
propose and proposition: suggest (“set forth”)
proposal and proposition: a suggestion (“something set forth”)
superimpose: place on top of something else (“set over”)
superimposition: something placed on top of something else (“something set over”)
superpose: same as superimpose, but with an additional sense of placing geometric figures congruently atop each other
suppose: assume (“set under”)
supposition: assumption (“something set under”)
suppository: medicine placed in the rectum or vagina (“something set under”)
transpose: move away (“set across”)
transposition: movement away (“something set across”)

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