Entries linking to unswerving
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (source of Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), combining form of PIE root *ne- "not." Often euphemistic (such as untruth for "lie").
The most prolific of English prefixes, freely and widely used in Old English, where it forms more than 1,000 compounds. It underwent a mass extinction in early Middle English, but emerged with renewed vigor 16c. to form compounds with native and imported words. It disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- (1) the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.), and though both might be deployed in cooperation to indicate shades of meaning (unfamous/infamous), typically they are not.
It also makes words from phrases (such as uncalled-for, c. 1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but the habit is not restricted to un-; such as put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegramese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is attested by 1936.
c. 1200, "to depart, go make off; turn away or aside;" c. 1300, "to turn aside, deviate from a straight course;" in form from Old English sweorfan "to rub, scour, file away, grind away," but sense development is difficult to trace. The Old English word is from Proto-Germanic *swerb- (cf Old Norse sverfa "to scour, file," Old Saxon swebran "to wipe off"), from PIE root *swerbh- "to turn; wipe off." Cognate words in other Germanic languages (Old Frisian swerva "to creep," Middle Dutch swerven "to rove, roam, stray") suggests the sense of "go off, turn aside" might have existed in Old English, though unrecorded. Related: Swerved; swerving.
updated on September 28, 2012
Dictionary entries near unswerving