Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My first Sightings language column:
On the problem with the word "solutions" in contemporary Christianity.

Here's M-W on indissoluble:

indissoluble \in-dih-SAHL-yuh-bul\ adjective

: not dissoluble; especially : incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken : permanent

Example sentence:
The contract should have been indissoluble, but the lawyers discovered an obscure clause that made it not so.

Did you know?
"Indissoluble" is a legacy of Latin. The Latin adjective "dissolubilis" gave us "dissoluble" (both meaning "capable of being dissolved"), which first appeared in print in 1534, followed rapidly by the addition of "in-" to make its antonym in 1542. "Dissolubilis" derives from "dissolvere" ("to loosen" or "to dissolve"), which in turn comes from "dis-" ("apart") and "solvere" ("to loosen"). Not surprisingly, "dissolvere" is also the source of "dissolve" and "dissolvable," among other words. Is there an "indissolvable"? Yes and no. It exists, but it is archaic and exceedingly rare. The word most likely to be used for things that cannot be dissolved in a liquid is "insoluble." "Indissoluble" generally refers to abstract entities, such as promises or treaties, that cannot be dissolved.

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