Entries linking to enmesh
word-forming element meaning "in; into," from French and Old French en-, from Latin in- "in, into" (from PIE root *en "in"). Typically assimilated before -p-, -b-, -m-, -l-, and -r-. Latin in- became en- in French, Spanish, Portuguese, but remained in- in Italian.
Also used with native and imported elements to form verbs from nouns and adjectives, with a sense "put in or on" (encircle), also "cause to be, make into" (endear), and used as an intensive (enclose). Spelling variants in French that were brought over into Middle English account for parallels such as ensure/insure, and most en- words in English had at one time or another a variant in in-, and vice versa.
1530s, originally in the figurative sense of "entangle, involve;" the literal transitive sense of "to catch in a net, entangle" is from 1540s; from mesh (n.). Literal sense "to become enmeshed" is from 1580s. Intransitive sense of "become engaged," as the teeth of one wheel with those of another, is by 1850. The figurative sense of "to fit in, combine" is by 1944. Related: Meshed; meshing.
updated on September 01, 2014