Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Character Witnesses

Although I sometimes pretend to grouchiness and ill humor, I think I should let everyone know that I am actually very sweet. Delectable, even.

I have this on good authority, which authority being the number of mosquito bites I always manage to accumulate after an outdoor party.

This evening, I got mosquito bites through my jeans. That's just how luscious I am. Parasitic insects find me irresistible. So if you've ever thought me appealing in any way, you're in good company.

As an aside which is almost certain to take up most of this post, why is it "irresist-ible"? Usually things that can be done or not done are spelled with an "-able." As in, I was unable to manage that thing, or think that thought, or whatever.

Internet? Help me out here.

OK, the Online Etymology Dictionary says that the derivation is "from L.L. irresistibilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" ... + resistere".

So it's not actually based on being able to resist something, it's based on a separate word meaning not resistibilis (presumably this does mean, more or less, "resist-able") which was spelled with an 'i'. All right, then.

That conveniently also explains why it's 'ir-' resistible instead of 'un-' resistible, which would be the expected pattern based on things you can't manage or think or so forth.

Thanks, internet!

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