Words That Include “Dur”

By Mark Nichol

If a word begins with or includes the element dur, it’s likely to be part of the word family derived from the Latin verb durare, meaning “harden” or “last.” This post defines the members of this family.

Durable means “able to last a long time” (the noun forms are durability and, rarely, durableness), and a little-known intensifier of that word, perdurable, employs the “throughout” sense of the prefix per- to mean “everlasting” or “very durable.” To endure is to accept or tolerate, though the word may refer to suffering a condition or experience, and it also pertains to continuation of a state or to putting up with the continuation.

Something that can be endured is endurable, and the noun form is endurance, which means “an act or instance of enduring” and sometimes refers to any of several types of competitive events involving long distances and/or arduous conditions the participants must endure. (The mostly obsolete word durance is still used occasionally in legal contexts to refer to physical restraint or confinement.) Enduro is an off-road motorcycle sport.

During means “at a point in the course of” or “throughout,” so the context of a sentence in which during is employed must clarify whether something done during a visit, for example, was done at some time while the visit occurred or all through the visit. Duration, meanwhile, is a noun referring to a length or span of time.

The adjective obdurate is a synonym for “stubborn,” while the less common word indurate refers to figurative or literal hardening and serves also as a verb meaning “establish” or “inure,” or “make hard” or “make stubborn.” (Obdurate, however, does not have a verb form; the verb indurate does double duty.)

Interestingly, the medieval poet Dante’s full name is Durante degli Alighieri; his birth name comes from durare and survived into modern Italian as a surname used, among others, by twentieth-century entertainer Jimmy Durante.

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5 Responses to “Words That Include “Dur””

  • D.A.W.

    In “Barbarella” – “Duran Duran”, double durable!
    They could have named him Durango Duran, or Duran Durango!
    How about Duran and Duarte? It might be a coincidence that in Spanish and Latin American history, there have been several prominent people named Duarte who were very durable folks, including Eva Duarte.

  • D.A.W.

    Ferdinand was the King of Spain, and I presume that he had a Spanish name. Have you ever heard of Ferdinand and Isabella? The ones who financed Cristobal Colon? (Christopher Columbus).
    Is it possible that “Ferdinand” is Portuguese or French? (This happens sometimes, even in royalty, such as a King of Sweden who had been a French marshal in Napoleon’s army, and Prince Albert and Prince Phillip of England.) The king of Spain is even called “Ferdinand the Great” in some sources.
    Also, there is a great Russian city, with two different names, both derived from the name of a Russian Tsar: Petrograd and St. Petersburg. We call the Tsar, “Peter the Great”.
    These things are not as “cut and dried” as you might think. To say that two things are “not at all related” is being an extremophile.
    You might think that “Diego” and “Santiago” are “not at all related”, but they are. In a very slippery way, they both mean “James”.
    You might think that “Adolph”, “Wulf”, and “Rudolph” are “not at all related”, but they are, with the common element of “wolf” or “wulf”.
    Then there is the slippery relationship between Jacob, Jakob, Jean, John, Johann, Johannes, Juan, Yohan. and Yohannes, as in the great mathematicians Jakob Bernoulli, Jean Bernoulli, and John Bernoulli (all the same man!). Confusing things even more was that he had a brother, a son, and a nephew who were also great mathematicians from Switzerland.
    How do Jakob, Jean, and Juan have anything to do with each other? They don’t even have the same main vowels.

  • venqax

    Okay, I have to chime in. It is quite possible that Durango, by way of Duran, is also from the Latin dur- root meaning lasting, enduring. BUT Frederick and Ferdinand are different names, both of Germanic origin but not at all synonymous. The Spanish forms of Frederick and Ferdinand are Federico and of Fernando, respectively. And Rafael, from Hebrew with that same -el suffix as Gabriel, Uriel, Samuel, Michael, etc. is not related to Ralph. Ralph is shortened form of the Germanic Rafulf(r) with the suffix -ulf meaning wolf. Compare it to Randolf, Rudolf, Adolf, etc. The Spanish form of Ralph is Raul. The God El and a wolf… nope. Anyway, just had to clear that up a bit.

  • D.A.W.

    Modern times have brought about more epic heroes in various media, real or imaginary:
    “Aida”, an operatic heroine of Ancient Egypt, “Zorro”, “The Lone Ranger”, “Shaka Zulu” of South Africa; Simon Bolivar of (northern) South America – a real man; King Kamehameha of Hawaii; the astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole of the saga of “2001: A Space Odyssey”; “The Seven Samurai”, “Lord Toranaga” of SHOGUN, “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Captain from Castile”, the Jedi Knights of George Lucas, Indiana Jones of Spielberg & Lucas.
    It is interesting how many of these have to do with the Spanish occupation of Mexico, California, and Texas.
    The real Simon Bolivar has a country named for him (Bolivia), a unit of currency (the bolivar of Venezuela), and a former submarine of the U.S. Navy, the USS “Simon Bolivar”. Bolivar was the founder of two countries: Bolivia, and “Gran Colombia”, which fractured into Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama.

  • D.A.W.

    Others: Durango, Colorado; the inland state of Durango in Mexico; the town of Durango, Spain (the original); Durango, Texas.
    Also, the Durango root, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datisca_glomerata, a noxious plant of Nevada, California, and Baja California.

    Close: Juan Pedro Duarte, one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic, and EVA DUARTE, later known as Evita Peron after she married the ruler of Argentina, Juan Peron. “Don’t cry for me Argentina!”

    Also, Duarte, California, in eastern Los Angeles County, in between Azusa and Monrovia, along the historic Highway 66.
    Javier Duarte de Ochoa is the former governor of the state of Veracruz in Mexico. The present presidents of El Salvador and Paraguay are named Duarte!

    I do not know if this word is actually related to “durable”, because I just found out that “Duarte” is a Spanish/Portuguese form of the name “Edward”, as is “Eduardo”, too.
    Sometimes I have trouble with the equivalents of Latino names, like Guillermo (William), both Diego and Santiago (James), Ferdinand (Frederick), Ysidro (Isadore).
    On the other hand, there are the easy ones like Juan, Jose, Pedro, Cristobal, Alejandro, Rafael (Ralph or Raphael), Lucas (Luke) (Cabo de San Lucas), Tomas, Matteo (Matthew), Carlos (Charles), etc.
    A long time ago, I asked my mother if she knew a meaning of Orlando, as in Orlando, Florida. My Mom knew right away: Roland.
    Roland was the hero of an epic French poem (“The Song of Roland” in English) , and Orlando is the Spanish form of that.

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