Saturday, May 15, 2004

Merriam-Webster College Dictionary Word of the Day: Disingenuous

disingenuous \dis-in-JEN-yuh-wuss\ adjective

: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating

Example sentence:
"I swear I'll be back with the money," the customer assured the cashier with a disingenuous expression.

Did you know?
Today's word has its roots in the slave-holding society of ancient Rome. Its ancestor "ingenuus" is a Latin adjective meaning "native" or "freeborn" (itself from "gignere," meaning "to beget"). "Ingenuus" begot English "ingenuous." That adjective originally meant "freeborn" (as in "ingenuous Roman subjects") or "noble and honorable," but it eventually came to mean "showing childlike innocence" or "lacking guile." In the mid 17th-century, English speakers combined the negative prefix "dis-" with "ingenuous" to create "disingenuous," meaning "guileful" or "deceitful."

No comments: