Words Derived from “Pend”

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Pend, stemming from the Latin verb pendere, meaning “hang,” is used exclusively in legal terminology, as a verb meaning “be awaiting,” but it appears as the root of many other words referring to hanging or weight, which are listed and defined in this post.

Something that is pending is waiting to be resolved. A pendant is a fixture or ornament that hangs; the word can also refer to a certain type of rope used in sailing, is a British English variant of pennant (a small, tapering flag), and may also refer to something complementary or supplementary, such as a companion volume to a book. A compendium (“weigh together”), meanwhile, is a collection; it is frequently used in a literary sense.

To append (“weigh out”) is to attach something, and something attached to something else, such as a limb, is often referred to as an appendage. Supplemental content attached to the end of a book is called an appendix, and a vestigial organ of the body is so named because it hangs from the large intestine. (Its full name is vermiform appendix; the first word means “wormlike”).

To depend (“hang from”) on someone or something is to rely on him, her, or it; the adjectival form is dependable, dependent is both an adjective and a noun, and dependence is the noun form. (Antonyms referring to freedom from reliance are independent and independence, while codependent, codependence, and codependency refer to control or manipulation of one person by another.)

To prepend (“weigh before”) is to consider. To expend (“weigh out”) is to pay; the adjectival form is expendable (though it can also be used as noun). Something impending (“hanging over”) is about to occur; the basic verb form is rare. A stipend (“weigh payment”) is money given as pay for short-term work, generally a modest amount not equivalent to a salary.

To suspend (“hang up”) is to hang something or cause someone to wait for something; the feeling that results is suspense, and the act is called suspension.

A pendulum is a weight that swings to and fro to regulate movement; it may also refer figuratively to movement from one position to its opposite. Something that swings heavily can be described as pendulous. Perpendicular (“hanging thoroughly”) means “projecting at right angles”); it is sometimes employed as a synonym for precipitous and may refers to individuals of distinctive types. (Perpendiculum is the Latin term for a plumb line, a weighted cord that in conjunction with gravity is used to ensure that an upright structural element is straight.) Pendentive is an architectural term for a structural element that helps support a dome.

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8 thoughts on “Words Derived from “Pend””

  1. I’m surprised to see the appendix labeled a “vestigial” organ in this day and age. During the Scopes trial, attempting to defend evolution, it was claimed there were “no less than 180 vestigial structures in the human body, sufficient to make of a man a veritable walking museum of antiquities.” Today the list has shrunk to virtually zero as man’s ignorance has been replaced with knowledge.

    Medical research has shown that the appendix has a vital role in the immune system and serves as a “nature reserve” for bacteria. According to “Your Appendix Could Save Your Life” (Scientific American), when the beneficial bacteria in our gut are depleted, the appendix allows them to be restored. Without your appendix, you may face an increased risk of recurrence and even death when confronted with a pathogen. So keep all your God-given organs!

  2. Lynn:
    As you may know firsthand or can appreciate, editors take in an extraordinary amount of information but can retain only so much in their brain’s database. 🙂 The utility of the appendix is apparently one of those data points that I had not filed away for future reference or that was misfiled. Thanks for your note.

  3. Mr. Nichol:
    I would say that an organ that is vestigial 99.999%+ of the time is deserving of the word “vestigial”, and so you were right. Don’t fret about it. Here is the real backstory, if not from the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, but then from similar publications like DISCOVER.
    Back in primitive times, a band of hunter-gatherers, or an entire village of early agricultural people, could get hit by an extremely-bad epidemic of gut disease, such as cholera, that made every one of them very sick. Back then, the ones who survived were the ones who had some internal “reservoir” of digestive microorganisms that would replenish their digestive tracts.
    Those survivors are the ones who went on to reproduce, and hence “survival of the fittest” gave their descendents to the next generation. Over the course of centuries, human appendices got better and better because of this.
    It was far better to have some survivors than none. A few survivors from a small group of people could join another small group, marry into it, and thus pass along their good genes.
    Still, looping back to the beginning, an organ that is vestigial 99.999%+ of the time qualifies for that word…

  4. Here is a word from http://www.dictionary.com that I had never heard of before: “perpend” – to consider.
    Origin in English: 1520-30. Derived from the Latin “perpendere”: to weigh carefully, to ponder: equivalent to “per” + “pendere”, “to weigh”.

    Thus, the words prepend and perpend seem to be very similar in meaning and in origin, and I had never heard of either of them.
    This all makes me think of “repend” (to consider again”, but this is not a dictionary word (that I have found so far).
    “Upend” is a compound word with “pend”, but this is a sheer coincidence with no connection with “pend” or “pendare”.
    The nonword “repend” makes me think of “remand”. When one is in jail or prison “on remand”, this means that one has violated he/her conditions of parole and has been sent back in. In other words, the judge or his representative as reconsidered one’s deeds and has sent one back for more punishment.

  5. The word “suspension” is a technical one, too, that does not have anything to do with emotions. A “suspension bridge” definitely “hangs there”, and the same idea is in the “suspension” of a car, truck, train, or the landing gear of an aircraft.
    An airplane is also suspended in midair by the left from its wings, and the “basket” of a balloon is suspended from main body of the craft by ropes or cables.

  6. So a fire-extinguisher is, then, a vestigial piece of equipment. It is only there in case of unusual circumstance and otherwise, the vast majority of time or maybe forever, it serves no purpose? Likewise an “escape hatch” of any kind. If a thing has any use– and preparedness is useful– then I guess that thing is not “vestigial”. Assuming, of course, that vestigial means “no longer having any purpose at all.” BUT, what with the pending issue, to quote the sage Andy Taylor of Mayberry, I think we’re drifting a bit.

  7. I think it really goes without saying that “upend” is a case of up + end. Not one of any pend at all. So, going with that without saying, there it is.

  8. I wrote: “Upend” is a compound word with “pend”, but this is a sheer coincidence with no connection with “pend” or “pendare”.
    I think that this is pretty darn clear, Venqax.
    Let me rephrase, though:
    “Upend” is a compound word with “pend” IN IT, as you can see. These is no connection with “pend” or “pendare”.

    This is one of those odd cases in English just like the word “separate” contains “a rat”. This is a reminder that the word is not spelled “seperate”, which does not contain “a rat”. Maybe the word “coincidence” just has too much technical weight in it for you.

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