Obsessed With Ob- Words
The other day, someone used a word that I hadn’t heard in a long time: obstreperous. I love the way that rolls off the tongue. It means noisy, unruly, belligerent, cantankerous – you get the picture. Obstreperous originates from the Latin prefix ob- (against) and strepere (to make a noise). A drunk being hustled out of a bar, while protesting loudly might be described as obstreperous.
Other meanings for the prefix ‘ob’ include contrary, against, towards or in the way of. It appears in several English words including:
- obdurate (from the Latin durare – to harden) – inflexible
- object (from the Latin iacere – to throw) – argue against
- obligate (from the Latin ligare – to bind) – bind legally
- obliterate (from the Latin litera – letter) – erase or destroy
- obnoxious (from the Latin noxius – harmful) – offensive
- obsession (from the Latin sidere – to besiege) – persistent preoccupation
- obstacle (from the Latin stare – to stand still) – a barrier
- obstinate (from the Latin struere- to stand) – stubborn
- obstruct (from the Latin struere- to pile up) – impede
Variations of ob- include oc-, of-, op-, and o- in words such as:
- occasion (from the Latin cadere – to fall) – opportunity
- occlude(from the Latin claudere – to shut) – obstruct
- occult (from the Latin culere – to cover) – shut off from view
- occupy (from the Latin capere/cupare – to seize) – take possession of
- occur (from the Latin currere – to run) – happen
- offend (from the Latin fendere – to hit) – violate or cause pain
- offer (from the Latin ferre – to carry) – present or make available
- omit (from the Latin mittere – to send) – leave out
- opponent (from the Latin ponere – to place) – adversary
More ob- words on Obnoxious Observations
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