Friday 3 December 2010

Exorable and Inexorable

Yesterday a distressed damsel asked me why so many things were inexorable, and so few, so terribly few, were exorable.

If you take inexorable and delicately unzip its compound clothing, you will find that there's nothing underneath except the little Latin word oro, which meant speak (as in orator).

When oro wore an ex on its head and became exoro, it meant plead or persuade.

When exoro put on its able trousers and became exorable, it meant pleadable, beggable, biddable or persuadable.

Exorable was an English word once, you know; but as with gormless, feckless, ruthless and reckless, the original was now gone to its long home bequeathing to us only a fossilized negative.

For inexorable fate decreed that exorable should die and inexorable, its ugly, negative brother should survive. Exorable pleaded for survival, but the gods of philology are inexorable, and said no.

I may start a solitary campaign to bring back exorable, like those Siberian scientists who are always attempting to make mammoths out of amber. If a fellow knows what inexorable is, he ought to be able to work out exorable, or at least he should after a couple of minutes' head-scratching and brow-furrowing. Anyway, I'm fond of futility, and it's fond of me.

The Inky Fool purchasing a new word


  1. Oh no, please don't tell me 'gormless' is a fossil!!

  2. I've realised (or been informed) that I called the dead words fossils, when I should have said that the survivors are fossils; which is a trifle intuitive-counter, hence my carelessness.

  3. Gorm really was a word, though. I wrote about it here.

  4. I loved "I'm fond of futility, and it's fond of me."
    Is it original?

  5. Entirely my own. All my epigrams are sown in sorrow, watered with weeping, and manured with misery.

    Futility is an old, dull friend I can't shake off.

  6. can someone tell me the how much i should pay for a such fossil ?

    Vivek Bhogade,