Challenging Word of the WeeK: demit

(dih MIT) verb

This verb is used both transitively and intransitively and is found most commonly in Scotland, but used elsewhere as well. To demit a position is to resign it, to give it up or relinquish it, and it often refers to public office. Intransitively, to demit is simply to resign. It comes from Latin demittare (to send down), based on the prefix di-, a variant of dis (away, apart) plus mittere (to send). Because of his need for “the woman I love,” Edward VIII of England (1894-1972) demitted his throne in 1936 — i.e., he abdicted.

From the book, “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House.

My example: Many are calling for Minnesota DFLer Dean Johnson to demit his position as Senate Majority Leader after either lying outright about conversations he claims to have had with Minnesota Supreme Court justices or, alternatively, casting aspersions on the impartiality of the Court. He may be able to withstand Republican ballyragging on the issue, but if the situation becomes too hot he could be defenestrated by his own party (which so far seems more interested in jugulating the person who leaked the recording than holding the Speaker to account).

I post a weekly “Challenging Words” definition to call more attention to this delightful book and to promote interesting word usage in the blogosphere. I challenge other bloggers to work the current word into a post sometime in the coming week. If you manage to do so, please leave a comment or a link to where I can find it. Previous words in this series can be found under the appropriate Category heading in the right-hand sidebar.

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