Habere

It seems desirable to acquaint pupils early with the formation of compound verbs, starting with those of eo, which are easy to understand.

For a selection, see the Morphology menu above.

Eric Partridge in his Origins (p. 273) mentions the ‘constellation of words’ in English that centre on the Latin word habere, to hold, occupy, possess, or have.

He lists, among others, the following, with their associated forms:

  • (in)habitant, habitation
  • habitual
  • exhibition
  • inhibition
  • prohibition
  • rehabilitate

Also, less often seen:

  • habile: ‘having general readiness; handy, ready; skilful, deft, adroit, dexterous.’—OED.  This is an almost obsolete synonym of able: there is the Irish usage, ‘I don’t feel able for the dance tonight.’
  • habiliment
  • adhibit: ‘to make use of; to use, apply, deploy.’—OED.
  • cohibit: to restrain
  • redhibition(US legal) the annulment of a sale.

Partridge also mentions:

  • malady, which the OED traces via Norman French to the Latin phrase male habitus.
  • binnacle, of which the OED explains: The current binnacle first appears after 1750, as a corruption of the earlier bittacle (still found 1839), apparently < Spanish bitáculabitácora ‘a place where the compasse or light is kept in a ship’ (Minsheu), or Portuguese bitácola, cognate with Italian abitacolo, Provençal abitaclehabitacle, French habitacle < Latin habitāculum habitation, lodge, <  habitāre to inhabit… The 17th cent. biddikil appears to be a transitional form.’

Also of interest:

  • debeo is a contraction of dehibeo, whose basic meaning is to withhold something from someone.
  • homo habilis was the name given to a new species of early hominids found in Tanzania in 1960. habilis here means ‘handy’ because this species was able to make primitive knives from chips of rock.