Printable Version
Pronunciation: kah-lê-gayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To tie or bind all together. 2. To find a principle that explains several things previously thought to be unrelated, to pull every relevant fact together in a single explanation.

Notes: The noun for today's word is, expectably, colligation. Several adjectives are available, including colligate itself, pronounced a bit differently [kah-lê-gêt] "tied together" (hear it). Colligable is a passive adjective meaning "capable of being colligated".

In Play: We have seldom seen or heard today's Good Word used in its literal sense since the 17th century, but that doesn't preclude its use today: "The necklace comprised a perfect set of pearls colligated by a silk thread." Today colligate is used to refer to abstract tying together: "The evidence in the murder case was substantial, but the prosecutor could not colligate it so that it pointed to a single suspect."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin colligare "tie or bind together", based on con "(together) with" + ligare "to tie, bind". If you find it remindful of collect, you have good reason. The past participle of colligere is collectus, which English appropriated as an entirely different word. Latin prefixes ending on N like con underwent a process called 'assimilation', that is to say, they took on the traits of the consonant following them. When added to words beginning on L and R, they became identical, as in correct and collect. Before consonants formed with the lips, like M, B, and P, N became M, as in comment, combine, and compute. The prefix in- behaved similarly, giving us words like impolite, irreverent, and illegal. (Thank you, David Ross, for colligating all the knowledge that led you to today's Good Word..)

Dr. Goodword,

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