Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Impassible, not impossible

I found an interesting free feature called "word of the day." For those who like to expand their english vocabulary, every day a new word is emailed to you with definition, examples of usage and its linguistic root, at least up to Latin. As we know, a lot of Latin comes from Sanskrit.
Today's word that came was:

impassible \im-PASS-uh-buhl\, adjective:

1. Incapable of suffering; not subject to harm or pain.

Body is flux and frustration, a locus of pain and process. If it becomes impassible and incorruptible, how is it still body?
-- Jeffrey Burton Russell, A History of Heaven

My note: In this definition, impassible really means transcendental consciousness, or a spiritual body. Nice word.

2. Unfeeling or not showing feeling.

As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it
-- Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs

Impassible is from Late Latin impassibilis, from Latin in-, "not" + Late Latin passibilis, "passible; capable of feeling or suffering" from Latin passus, past participle of pati, "to suffer." It is related to passion, which originally meant "suffering" but came to apply to any strong feeling or emotion.

My note: Interesting how passion originally meant suffering. "Nectar in the beginning, poison in the end."

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