More Words Derived from “Pend”
A previous post lists words stemming from the Latin verb pendere, meaning “weigh,” and containing the root pend. This follow-up adds disguised words that have the same derivation.
A painter was originally a chain or rope that secures an anchor; the sense shifted to that of a line used to secure or tow a boat. Penchant, from an Old French verb, pencher, meaning “incline,” means “liking,” and its synonym propensity comes directly from Latin (propendere).
Poise, from pensum, the Latin noun form of pendere, refers to bearing, carriage, or composure, or to equilibrium; in scientific contexts, the word refers to a unit of viscosity. As a verb, it means “balance” or “brace.” A counterpoise is an equivalent opposing force or power, or a state of balance, or, as a verb, the word is synonymous with counterbalance.
The verb compensate, meaning “make up for” or “pay,” and its adjectival form compensatory and the noun compensation, are based on pendere, as is recompense, which in verb form means “give something in return for” or “pay for” and as a noun is synonymous with compensation. To dispense is to administer, distribute, or share out, or to exempt; dispensation is the act of doing so. “Dispense with,” however, means “do without” or “set aside.” A dispensary, meanwhile, is a location for giving out medicine or medical treatment.
The noun pension refers to money a company or government gives to a person who has retired after working for the entity. As a verb, it describes making this payment or dismissing an employee after awarding such a payment. Pension, or pensione (from the Italian word spelled thus) also describes room-and-board accommodations in Europe, or a boardinghouse or hotel that offers them; this use stems from the sense of payment for accommodations.
The adjective pensive means “thoughtful,” in the sense of “weighing” a thought; the adverbial form is pensively, and pensiveness is the quality of being in deep thought. An unexpectedly related word is pansy (by way of the Middle French word pensée, meaning “thought”), so called because the flower was a symbol of thought. Unfortunately, it also became a slur for an effeminate or gay male.
Another word not easily detected as being in the pendere family is avoirdupois, the name for the ounce/pound/ton system of weight measurement as well as a word describing heaviness or weight; it can also serve as an adjective when referring to the weight system. (Its Old French forebear, avoir de pois, means “goods of weight.”) Another foreign-born term descended from pendere is peso, the word for the basic currency of some former Spanish colonies, as well as a former Spanish coin.
Finally, span, which as a noun and a verb refers in various contexts to length, ultimately derives from pendere, as does the British English term spanner, which refers to what in American English is generally called an adjustable wrench (sometimes called a crescent wrench, after the Crescent tool brand).
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