Word of the Month


David Zapatka

Our January, 2015 word of the month was malapropism, suggested by friend and bridge player Susan Hoffelt. We had a lot of fun learning about and playing with that word which ties in to this month’s word of the month, secede. The word secede is one of those common malapropic words. So here’s a quiz you can try. What is the proper definition of secede?

A. Achieve one’s goals

B. Withdraw

C. Come next after

If you chose A. or C. you made the malapropic mistake of confusing “secede” with “succeed.” The first mistake was thinking “secede” meant you were successful in achieving your goal. The second mistake was thinking “secede” meant something that followed in orderly succession. Answer b. is the correct answer meaning to withdraw.

Secede – intransitive verb se·cede si-ˈsēd. The dictionary definition of secede is to withdraw formally from an alliance, end an association with an organization such as a religious group, political party, federation or country.

The origin of secede is from the Latin word secedere, from sed-, se- apart (from sed, se without) + cedere to go.

Examples of secede used in a sentence;

The Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy, was the government created by the 11 Southern states of the United States after they seceded from the Union.

Party members at the Texas state convention will vote on whether to secede.

The small middle-class town of Gardendale, Alabama, outside Birmingham, voted on November 12 to secede from the Jefferson County school district and then to raise taxes on themselves to finance the solo venture.

My favorite example heard yesterday in a conversation at the Ironwood pool, “I’m so unhappy with these speed bumps I think Ironwood should secede from IronOaks!”

Secession is a popular topic these days. State residents talk about seceding from the union, political party members talk about seceding from their party, small towns talk about seceding from their school districts and here in Sun Lakes some residents talk about seceding from their homeowner association. Will any of these ideas to secede lead to actions that will succeed? How about that? Both “secede” and “succeed” in the same sentence. There’s nothing malapropic about that.

Please submit any thoughts you may have on this month’s column or any word you may like to share with our readers along with your insights and comments to [email protected].