Entries linking to disinherit
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.
The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").
In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).
c. 1300, "to make (someone) an heir" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French enheriter "make heir, attribute the right of inheretance to, appoint as heir," from Late Latin inhereditare "to appoint as heir," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin hereditare "to inherit," from heres (genitive heredis) "heir" (see heredity).
Sense of "receive inheritance, get by succession as representative of the former possessor" is attested from mid-14c.; in Medieval Latin inhereditare also had taken on a sense "put in possession." Original sense is retained in disinherit. Related: Inherited; inheriting; inheritable.
updated on August 28, 2018