Dear William Safire,

Word question: why do we say "deceased" instead of just "ceased" (as in "he ceased to exist") as a descriptor for the dead?

(Earlier question: If there are "disgruntled" employees, why aren't there "gruntled" ones?)


Joseph said...

Your friendly linguist says...

deceased: c.1330, from Fr. deces, from L. decessus "death," lit. "departure" (euphemism for mors), from pp. stem of decedere "die," from de- "away" + cedere "go"

Paul Schmelzer said...

Ah, thank you, Joseph. Any luck with "gruntled"?