Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The anti-whine

The anti-whine

After considering synonyms of whine for the 1/28 & 2/3 posts, we’ll take a look at words of the anti-whine variety (as suggested by Christine in the comments section). It’s tough to identify antonyms of whine, in part because a whine includes noise, attitude, & negativity. Sadly the following anti-whine words fall a little short of being true antonyms.

The word approve has been with us since 1300. It came through Old French from a Latin word meaning to assent to or regard as good. The Latin word approbare was constructed of the prefix ad- meaning to & the root probare, or prove.

The verb praise appeared in English about the same time, meaning to commend or flatter. Like approve, praise came through Old French from Latin. Its Latin grandmother, preciare, meant value or worth & is related to our modern words price & prize. It wasn’t until the late 1300s the word praise became associated with God.

The French word lauder, meaning praise or extol morphed in time into the English words laud & applaud. The former appeared in the late 1300s meaning to praise or commend & the latter a century later meaning to express agreement or clap the hands.

In the 1610s the verb compliment was born. Interestingly, the noun that predated it by about thirty years was defined to mean an expression of civility usually understood to include some hypocrisy, & to mean less than it declares.
Compliment came to English through French from Italian from Vulgar Latin.

I find it fascinating that these perfectly fine words with positive meanings aren’t nearly as much fun as whine, whinge & grouse. Any thoughts on that, dear readers?

Big thanks to this week’s sources: Etymonline, Wordnik, Merriam-Webster & the OED


  1. Fascinating that Praise, Price and Prize all have the same root. Makes sense, but I'd never thought of it before. But it's true that whine, whinge and grouse are more fun. :-)

    1. The fun element of "negative" words does make me worry about the nature of humanity.