Printable Version
Pronunciation: kên-kah-mê-tênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Accompanying, happening at the same time or as a result of something else.

Notes: Today's word is the adjective of the unfortunately rarely used verb concomitate "to accompany", as 'symptoms that concomitate flu'. The noun concomitance "coexistence, accompaniment" has a special meaning in the Church: the presence of Christ's body and blood in either the bread or the wine in the Eucharist. One without the other is inconceivable. The adverb is concomitantly and, OK, go ahead and say concomitancy for the noun if you must.

In Play: Today's word is ambiguous as to whether the two concurring events are causally related or not: "Everyone noticed the inkspot on Gridley's hand concomitant with the announcement that the gold-plated pen was missing." The ambiguity is in this sentence, too, "Grinding poverty concomitant with fabulous wealth is a cause for continuing concern among thoughtful people."

Word History: Today's Good Word has an interesting history in that it is derived with the prefix com- "with, together" from a word that was itself derived with the same prefix. It comes from the Late Latin stem concomitan(t)s "accompanying", the present participle of concomitari "to accompany" from com- "with, together" + comitari "to accompany". Comitari comes from the noun comes, comitis "companion" from the selfsame prefix com-, this time prefixed to it- "go", i.e. someone you go with. The "go" root also turns up in iter "journey" which underlies our itinerary and itinerant, and continues to exist pretty much unchanged in the Russian verb, id-ti "to go/come". (We are indeed happy that Luis Alejandro Apiolaza, Uncronopio of the Alpha Agora, brought this useful and lovely word to the word market there.)

Dr. Goodword,

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