if it is possible to be disgruntled, then is it possible to be gruntled? what exactly would that mean?
As a postal worker, I await the answer with impatience.
Did you ever consider looking it up in a dictionary?
It’s in mine (Merriam Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary - 1987). It derives from back-formation of disgruntle, and means “to put into a good humor.”
(Curiously, “gruntle” appears to be an old synonym for “grumble,” so it would seem on the surface that “disgruntled” should mean exactly the opposite of what it really means.)
From http://www.m-w.com :
Okay, so Americans really do have a different kind of English than the rest of us folks …
In my mother-tongue version of English, gruntle is to grunt or grumble (from before 1425), while disgruntled doesn’t mean “not gruntled” but “very gruntled”!
I think the language term is “intensifier” for dis in this case, but that’s just off-the-top guessing.
If you debunk something, is it no longer bunk?
No. “De” here is also an intensifier. You are “thoroughly” calling something “bunkum” or “bunk”
On every cover of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (Gilbert Shelton, Rip Off Comics) is the claim that there are millions of ‘gruntled customers’
Well, this is kinda long, but seeinz how this thread was about to fall off the page, I’ll post it. With no offense to the OP, this thread is probably not going to last too long so my posting won’t tie up that much band width.
“How I met my wife” by Jack Winter/The New Yorker
[Note: Remainder of post removed, for copyright purposes --Chronos]
[Edited by Chronos on 02-05-2001 at 12:14 PM]
After that very long post, a short joke…
Q. How would you describe a pig with laryngitis?
The prefix dis- at one time was indeed used as an intensifier (definition #5). Thus, as Ice Wolf has already pointed out, “disgruntled” meant “very gruntled.” This pretty much supplanted the milder “gruntled,” until someone recoined the word with a contrary meaning.
I think Cecil covered this question once and his answer pretty much agrees with the notion that the “dis-” prefix in this case is an intensifier, not a negation.
In America we might say “gruntled” or “regruntled”, but only for a humorous effect. I don’t think those words are acceptable in standard usage, so it’s not like we have our own version of English. Really.
I think, but I’m not going to bother to look it up, that “bunk” is a noun and “debunk” is a verb. Intensity is immaterial.
More stirring for the stew. Take a gander at ravel and unravel the next time you open your dictionary. Ah, the hell with that. I’ll just post what mine says.
[li]To separate the fibers or threads of (cloth, for example); unravel.[/li][li]To clarify by separating the aspects of.[/li][li]To tangle or complicate.[/li][/list=1]
[li]To become separated into its component threads; unravel or fray.[/li][li]To become tangled or confused.[/li][/list=1]
[li]A raveling.[/li][li]A broken or discarded thread.[/li][li]A tangle.[/li][/list=1]
[li]a. To undo or ravel the knitted fabric of. b. To separate (entangled threads).[/li][li]To separate and clarify the elements of (something mysterious or baffling); solve.[/li][/list=1]
To become unraveled.
So, you tell me. Is ravel not both a synonym and an antonym for unravel?
For “ravel,” the roots refer to “fraying” or “tangling.” “Unravel” would thus (originally) have meant “untangling” or “defraying.” But OED says in as many words that now “In ordinary English use ravel is synonymous with unravel.”
From Chambers Dictionary of Etymology:
“Curiously ravel and unravel have long been synonyms in the sense of disentangle, unwind, and antonyma in that ravel also carried the meaning of entangle, confuse. The apparent reason for this is that as threads (either literal or figurative) become unwoven, their ends become tangled. However today, the prevailing use is that of fray out, seperate into threads.”
I know, I know, I’ve got at least two typos in my last post. Mea culpa.
Hey, Javaman – what about “aluminum”/“aluminium”? That’s gotta mean a difference, right?
Are we in danger of starting a new thread, although I’m sure it’s been covered before- differences between US and British English. Alunminum is an aberration- look at Titanium etc. However, in many ways American English is more regular and Britspeak is the aberration.
Alunminum is certainly an aberration and a TYPO. Read Aluminum!
While we’re on the subject of apparent negatory prefixes, look at flammable and inflammable. They mean the same.