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INCUMBENT

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INCUMBENT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:15 pm

• incumbent •


Pronunciation: in-kêm-bênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Resting its weight on something else, leaning or resting on something, as a picture of Gayle incumbent on a rock. 2. Dependent, up to, as it is incumbent on me to get Bertram to work in the morning. 3. Responsible for the duties of an office, as the incumbent mayor of the city.

Notes: Today's adjective is used a lot in an election year like 2012. However, it is used mostly as a noun referring to incumbent politicians, simply called "incumbents". Incumbents are people who are currently in office and running for election against challengers. The noun for the quality of being incumbent is incumbency.

In Play: Today's Good Word can find room in the speech of all responsible parents: "It is incumbent upon you to keep your room neat and tidy and incumbent upon me to decide whether I buy tickets for the Justin Bieber concert." (You wouldn't call that blackmail, would you?) In fact, this word can find a place wherever responsibility is at stake: "It is incumbent upon the deacons to make all the major decisions concerning the church and mow the grass on Saturday."

Word History: Today's word comes from Latin incumben(t)s "lying down on", the present participle of incumbere "to lean or lie upon", made up of in- "in, on" + cumbere "to lie". The semantic drift of this word is easy to follow. If something is leaning on an object, it is dependent on that object for its support. Even in English we say things like, "It lies with me to get Bertie to work". This is another way of saying that I am responsible, and responsibilities are often said to rest on someone. Cumbere is a variant of cubare, which underlies cubiculum "bedroom", the source of English cubicle.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:01 am

I am more likely to say "recumbant" for meaning 1.
The last comment is odd. Cubicles no longer resemble bedrooms AT ALL!
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:21 am

I have worked in a private office with a door and a window. I have worked in a cubicle. Office is better. By the way, I like the word incumbent, in all its meanings.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby MTC » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:59 am

I move to replace incumbent with recumbent as a noun for political purposes , e.g., "the recumbent for office" would replace "the incumbent for office." This change would better reflect the realities of political office, "1. Lying down, especially in a position of comfort or rest; reclining. 2. Resting; idle."

All in favor say "aye." (Not "I," that is.)
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:43 am

In a jocular vein, I vote aye.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:36 pm

In a more serious vein, I vote "Aye", as well.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:48 pm

To break the tie, I vote "I"!
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:06 pm

heh
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Slava » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:46 pm

Aye voght yo!
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:33 am

You've got me Slava. "Aye voght yo!" obviously means "Yes vote I!" or arranged as an English sentence "I vote aye!" Is your original rendering in some specific language or is it from more than one language? Forgive my denseness but please enlighten me. I even stooped to trying Esperanto.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Slava » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:02 pm

Simply weird ways of spelling, plus slang.

Aye = I
voght = vote (Vogt and Voght are surnames)
yo = yep or yup.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:09 pm

Thanks Slava. You had me worried. I didn't interpret your phrase correctly but still got the right answer. When I taught mathematics, students were often unhappy when they got the right answer for the wrong reason. I gave them no credit. So, by my own rules, I struck out on this one.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby misterdoe » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:41 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:When I taught mathematics, students were often unhappy when they got the right answer for the wrong reason. I gave them no credit.

Reminds me of my eighth-grade math teacher. I once got a 58 on a take-home test where I got every answer factually correct, but didn't reduce the answers to their lowest terms (or something like that), costing me two points per "error." :roll:
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:24 pm

If you didn't reduce the answer to its lowest terms, you didn't get the right answer at all. For that the teacher would have given you no credit for the problems. If you got the right answer but didn't show the intermediate steps correctly, the teacher may have docked your score. Mean old professor Hudson didn't give partial credit.
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Re: INCUMBENT

Postby Slava » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:37 pm

I fought mathematics for much of my life. If you get the correct answer, who cares?

Then I got into grammar and other languages.

Now I gather that it is incumbent upon all of us to learn the rules and obey them.
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