A moment of word mapping

Recently, while reading a paper by María Lugones, I came across the word “arrogate.” I had to look it up, because apparently I don’t know ALL the words (DAMMIT), and came across this definition (thanks, Google!):

“to take or claim something without justification.”

In the Lugones paper, arrogate was used in reference to Marilyn Frye’s term, “arrogant perception.” So then I had to look up that term (thanks again, Google!):

a tendency of those in power to arrogate others to serve their interests, not only in practice, but at the very level of perception.”

Ok, so arrogate and arrogance clearly have more of a connection than I knew (especially since I didn’t know what ‘arrogate’ meant).  So I looked up arrogance (thanks thrice, Google!):

“having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.”

So arrogance is arrogating status, importance, and competence. I love this way of looking at it.

THEN, and finally for all you who are tired of this (but how could you be?! Words are awesome!) I looked up the common root of both words (thank you for the fourth and final (for now) time, Google!):

“The word arrogate comes from the Latin word arrogatus, a past participle of the verb ‘arrogare’ which means ‘to appropriate to one’s self.” 

“The word arrogant comes from the Latin word ‘arrogantem’ which means ‘assuming, overbearing, insolent’, present participle of ‘arrogare.’ 

So both arrogate and arrogance come from participles of the Latin word arrogare. This is not exactly earth-shattering for comprehension, but I really enjoy seeing how certain words are related. It gives me a deeper, richer context for how they have been used, how they could be used, perhaps how they are misused, and how I can think about what they infer or represent in a different way.

Also, on a side note, arrogance is one of my most loathed qualities of another person, and I can see why a bit better now. It’s selfish, grasping, unreasonable, and actively takes something away from another person. I know the world a bit better now that I know how some have put and mapped words to it.

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