(um (insep))


to surround
(NOT in a beleaguering sense. Implies a steady surrounding, so not for a transitory, quick surrounding. Also commonly used in contexts of surrounding yourself with something - "sich+Acc umgeben mit".)

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Root: *ghabh-

The core idea of this root was:

grabbing, taking

The meaning of geben and to give comes from the idea of grabbing something to hand it to someone, but the family is more diverse than that.
It’s also the origin of the families of habit and hibit, which both come from the Latin verb habere, which meant to hold. That’s also where able is from, which evolved from the word habilitate.

And also part of the family are due, duty and debt. They all go back to a Latin verb debere, which was about the idea of having to give someone something, and which is nothing other than a combination of de- with … habere again.
Here’s a list of the most important English relatives:

  • debt (having to give)
  • duty (having to give)
  • due (having to give)
  • able (capable of “holding”)
  • habit (something you “hold”)
  • inhabit (holding a place and living there)
  • inhibit (holding in)
  • exhibit (holding outward)
  • prohibit (holding/taking away)
  • to give
  • gift
  • forgive (give away)
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2 months ago

With the ever interesting ‘um’ verb prefix having different effects depending on its seperable or inseperable behaviour, pray what does the seperable um-geben mean? Langenscheidt suggest ‘put something around something/somebody?

2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Pleased to:-
you need to scroll down to find it …

The heading of the section has:-
umgeben v/t <irr, trennb; -ge-; h>

2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

That’s an interesting idea as it means one can quickly dip into the bit one wants rather than wading through it all. Sounds as if your system will be one up on paper dictionaries. But there are times when perhaps wading is preferable as one often discovers bits that would not otherwise have been learned and appreciated. But I thinks speed first followed by thoroughness.
Regarding your answer above … ‘the limits of traditional dictionaries!’
I confess I have a thing about groups of words, like all the types of gebens or gehens, or laufens etc. So I see umgeben and expect to see um-geben! If only life was that consistent!! :))

2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I’ll check out your hint. By the way as far as I am concerned your Dictionary is always my first port of call, but sometimes I go to others as well to try and get a wider perspective or word patterns that help with my oh so Teflon memory [to use your phrase].

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