Printable Version
Pronunciation: aw-di-yênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Listening, capable of listening. 2. (Noun) Listener, something capable of listening (hearing and understanding).

Notes: The adverb for the adjectival use is audiently. The plural in its noun use, audients, is pronounced identically with the noun audience. Audience is what linguists call a "collective noun", a singular noun (in the US) that refers to many things. In British English the agreement is with the semantics, i.e. 'the audience are', 'the family are', 'the parliament are'. In fact, the linguistic position is that -s is (also) a noun-forming suffix added to Latinate adjectives ending on NT, with the [ts] spelled -ce: dependence, convenience, existence.

In Play: As an adjective, this almost lost word may be used in this way: "Horace's performance connected with the souls of the audient spectators standing around him." Let's preserve this word, if only as a noun: "It serves little purpose to propound democracy if you have no audients."

Word History: This word was taken from Latin audien(t)s "hearing, listening", the present participle of audire "to hear, listen", used as a noun referring to a listener, where listen means "hear and understand". Latin created this word from a PIE compound: au-dhe- "to make perceptible", comprising au- "perception, to perceive" + dhe- "put, make". The remains of au- appears in Sanskrit avis "remarkable, obvious", Greek aiein "to hear", and Russian um "mind" but also yavit' "appear (become visible)". PIE dhe- we have run into many times. It underlies English do, German tun "do", Russian delat' to do; make", Lithuanian dėti "to put", Greek tithenai "to put, place, and Latin facere "to do", the past participle of which is factus.

Dr. Goodword,

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