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June 11, 2019

Word of the Day: Chasten

2 CQ

Word of the Day : June 11, 2019

chasten \CHAY-sun\ verb


1 : to correct by punishment or suffering : discipline; also : purify

2 a : to prune (something, such as a work or style of art) of excess, pretense, or falsity : refine

b : to cause to be more humble or restrained : subdue

Did You Know?

If you say you would castigate or chastise someone in order to chasten them, you demonstrate a good knowledge of the origin of chasten—all three verbs derive from the Latin verb castigare, meaning "to punish." (Castigare combines Latin castus, which means "pure" and is the source of English chaste, with the verb agere, meaning "to lead" or "to drive.") Castigate, chastise, and chasten share the sense of "to subject to severe and often physical punishment," but all three verbs are now as likely to refer to a verbal dressing-down as to a physical lesson. Chasten (which arrived in English via Anglo-French chastier) can also be used to mean "to prune of excess, pretense, or falsity." This led to the more general sense of "to make more subdued," although the humility can be imposed by a humiliating situation as easily as by a strict taskmaster.

Aired June 11, 2019

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