Up, up, and away

In a recent e-mail a friend used the word extol(l), which means ‘to praise heartily.’ Spanish has no cognate of the word, but one translation into Spanish, ensalzar, gives a clue to the etymological sense of extol. Surprisingly, the en- of ensalzar developed, with atypical nasalization, from the same ex- that begins extol and that usually means ‘out, away,’ but that in these two words conveys a notion of ‘upward’ (and the -alz- of ensalzar is from the same root as alto ‘high’). The main element in extol is from Latin tollere ‘to bear, lift, carry,’ so that to extol is metaphorically ‘to bear upward [in one’s esteem].’ Spanish and English have the same root that’s in Latin tollere in the more common verb tolerar/tolerate, which means literally ‘to bear with, put up with.’

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 08:30:06

    What I’ve been barely able to tolerate is the continual looping of the 5th Dimension’s song, “Up, Up and Away” in my mind since reading this title yesterday. I was hoping it might have begun life as a Spanish song, but no – Jimmy Webb, of “MacArthur Park” fame wrote it. 🙂

    The good news is that the entry also made me think of that time-honored comic phrase: “Up with that I will not put”. I remember using that phrase a lot when I was home in bed with the measles, which means I probably got it from a radio program like “The Great Gildersleeve”. I believe I’ll go find my walker, now….


    • Steve Schwartzman
      Dec 12, 2012 @ 08:37:47

      I’ve heard a version of that quip attributed to Winston Churchill, who supposedly expressed mock disapproval of the practice of ending a sentence with a preposition by saying: “That is something up with which I will not put.”

      A few years ago Jimmy Webb performed solo at the Cactus Cafe at the University of Texas. Among plenty of other songs, he sang “Up, Up and Away,” which until then I hadn’t known was a song of his. It strikes me as more “pop radio” than most of his other songs I know.


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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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