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Old 18 August 2009, 12:23 AM
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Icon27 Etymology of 'government'

Comment: The notion that etymology of the word "government" means "control
of mind". Govern=control, ment=mind. A search of the web will reveal
this being reprinted numerous times. I'm pretty sure this is wrong, but I
have no expertise in Latin or etymology.
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:10 AM
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Dummies.com states the meaning of the -ment suffix is "an action, process, or act of a specified kind." (link)

A page at MSU defines it as "act of, result." (link) (it does appear to be a student's site)

This appears on what seems to be an educational site: "'a condition' or 'a result'" (link)

WordInfo has five definitions, including "An action, process, or skill" (link)

And dictionary.com says "a suffix of nouns, often concrete, denoting an action or resulting state (abridgment; refreshment), a product (fragment), or means (ornament)." (link)

I've only found one site that mentions the "ment means mind" thing, but I can't corroborate that anywhere else.
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:22 AM
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I'll say what I say whenever I hear someone complaining about how government=Evil: Fine then, you can put out your own fires, catch your own criminals, and pave your own roads.
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
Fine then, you can put out your own fires...
Though I don't disagree with the sentiment, there are private fire departments (usually in extremely rural areas AFAIK) that operate off of fees.
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:28 AM
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Of course.

Just as a-tone-ment means a brain that's poorly tuned.
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:41 AM
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I've never understood why so many Americans seem so afraid of the government. Why, exactly, does government = bad in so many minds?
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Old 18 August 2009, 02:48 AM
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-ment doesn't mean mind... the entry in Chambers Dictionary of Etymology starts:

Quote:
-ment a suffix forming nouns, especially from the verbs, and meaning act or process of _____ing, as in enjoyment; condition of being _____ed, as in amazement; product or result of _____ing, as in pavement; means or instrument that _____s, as in inducement.
The blanks are as in the original, which is quite amusing if you're childish like me.

"Government" could be the first or third of those at least, depending whether it's a noun or a verb.

Nobody who actually understands English, and has a typical adult vocabulary, would think the OP could be right anyway, could they?
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Old 18 August 2009, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
Though I don't disagree with the sentiment, there are private fire departments (usually in extremely rural areas AFAIK) that operate off of fees.
Just ask Crassus...

Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
I've never understood why so many Americans seem so afraid of the government. Why, exactly, does government = bad in so many minds?
A good reason to be wary and suspicious of government is that it has the legal monopoly on the use of force. As they say about fire, "Good servant, terrible master." When government goes bad, who is there to protect us? ("When the police break the law, there is no law.")

But, of course, someone is going to have power, no matter what. It might be a bureaucrat, or a warlord, or a high priest, or a people's commissar, or a king, or a godfather. The fantasy of everyone minding their own business and respecting each other's liberty is just that: a fantasy.

Silas
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Old 18 August 2009, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
"Government" could be the first or third of those at least, depending whether it's a noun or a verb.
... I didn't mean verb, by the way; I meant noun or different kind of noun. (Whether it means the body that governs, or the thing that that body produces.)
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Old 18 August 2009, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
I've never understood why so many Americans seem so afraid of the government. Why, exactly, does government = bad in so many minds?
It's because in the U.S. the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. In fact, our government IS the people.

And we know what rotten specimens WE are.
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Old 18 August 2009, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
And we know what rotten specimens WE are.
Unless you're working to enrich somebody (not necessarily yourself), rather than to help people, in which case you all magically become much more competent, efficient and ethical...
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Old 18 August 2009, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
I've never understood why so many Americans seem so afraid of the government. Why, exactly, does government = bad in so many minds?
Generally speaking, many people have the idea that government workers do not get fired, do not get demoted and can expect a steady increase in salary which may or may not reflect the performance on the job. So, the stereotype is that government workers tend to be the types that like to keep their get heads low, and do not perform well. People equate that with big and inefficient.

This is not my opinion. Generally, the government workers that I have come in contact with tend to be quite efficient. IMO, the slowness in government comes mainly because many departments tend to be underfunded.

Also, some procedures are bureaucratic nightmares. For example, if you are applying for a greencard, your application jumps from department to department, at times getting lost in the process. OTH, some processes like applying for a passport are very streamlined in the US. I mean, you go to the Post office, and you get back your passport in 10 days. How cool is that? I don't know of any other country that has an easier process.

Certainly, parts of the government are inefficient, and parts are very efficient. IMO, that is a case for an improved government, not less government
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Old 19 August 2009, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
I'm pretty sure this is wrong, but I
have no expertise in Latin or etymology.
Allright: it comes from the ancient Greek kubernân which means "to drive (a carriage)" or "to pilot (a vessel)".

It was first used in the sense of "leading a group of persons or a state" by Plato.

It has evolved into gouvernement (French) goberniamento (Spanish), government (English) and governamento (Italian) and now designates both the leading of a state, and the group of persons who are in charge of doing so.

So, it's a clear démenti to this demented "mental" thing.



PS for trivia's sake: in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, when a guy says: "mon Gouvernement", he means: "my wife".
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Old 19 August 2009, 04:38 PM
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Looking at the OED:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
[a. OF. governement (F. gouvernement), f. governer: see GOVERN v. and -MENT. In the main, this word may be considered to have superseded GOVERNANCE.]
Looking up -MENT

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
[< Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French -ment, suffix forming nouns from verbs (to denote the result or product of the action of the verb, e.g. garnement GARMENT n., habillement HABILIMENT n., or the action itself, e.g. abrégement ABRIDGEMENT n., accomplissement ACCOMPLISHMENT n., commencement COMMENCEMENT n.) and its etymon classical Latin -mentum, suffix forming nouns from verbs (to denote the result or product of the action of the verb, as in fragmentum FRAGMENT n., or the means or instrument of the action, as in alimentum ALIMENT n., {omac}rn{amac}mentum ORNAMENT n.) and from adjectives (e.g. {amac}tr{amac}mentum ATRAMENT n., pal{umac}d{amac}mentum PALUDAMENT n.) < an Indo-European base representing a variant (with -t- extension) of the Indo-European base of classical Latin -men, suffix forming nouns from verbs (e.g. ac{umac}men ACUMEN n., fl{umac}men FLUME n., n{omac}men NAME n.), and ancient Greek -{mu}{alpha} (see -OMA comb. form).
-MENT as a noun-forming suffix predates "mental" meaning "mind" by several centuries.

The etymology has no more basis in reality than the joke: Politics, from "poly" meaning "many," and "ticks," meaning small, bloodsucking creatures.
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Old 06 September 2009, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
Allright: it comes from the ancient Greek kubernân which means "to drive (a carriage)" or "to pilot (a vessel)".
It got mispronounciated to smithereens by the barbaric Romans, rather like the word orator which they also stole from the Greeks. In the sense of steering, there was another noun, kubernetes, which meant tillerman or helmsman, so a big hi here to Mao Tse Tung. This later transmogrified into cybernetics, which as any fule kno, is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems; and as any bigger fule will tell you, that means it is time to slope off for a Broadside. Which could explain why, although I have a nice little house with a bit of garden, I haven't got a nbfsking clue what's going on.

It also led to cyberspace, et nous voilà ce soir, as that nice Jacques Brel once said.
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  #16  
Old 01 July 2010, 08:54 PM
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Icon05 government versus democracy - are they synonymous?

I have read your question and I was intoduced to this explanation of govenment meaning "mind control" on a video I watched.

If you just cut and paste this link (below) into your address bar and go to the following link

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...earchmode=none


you will get an etymology website for the word mentation (c1850 Latin ment = mind) There are examples under "ment" for words with -ment added to them (suffix). A dictionary will show you that when you add -ment to a word like contain- or acknowledge- they go from a transitive verb to a noun (i.e., person, place or thing). You will also notice that if you take the 't' off the end you have men ( a notable coincident).

So what about 'control'? Just type the word into the online etymology dictionary. You will see that control and govern do not have the same root meaning. But when you go to this link on synonyms

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561575223/govern.html

'control' is a synonyms for 'govern' (and so in 'dominate' oddly enough).

So whoever told you that government might somehow be linked with 'mind control' is possibly an 'aware' person.

See 'aware,wary,alert' on the etymology dictioary.

This could be insightful for you expecially the etymology for the word alert (from french word erta = 'look out, high tower')

Also try some research on 'democracy' to learn more. Start with the etymology dictionary and you will see that the roots are Greek (naturally since democracy started in Athens, Greece) and it comes fom two greek words demos (=common people) + kratos (= rule, strength).

Ask yourself: How much power do I have as a common person in my country? For instance do I have the power to keep my taxes from increasing? Do I have the power to ensure that my salary or wages keep up with inflation?, etc., etc. Do I have any power over whether CPP will be around when I retire or not? Can I stopped my governemnt from increasing the national debt so that each tax payer now owes over $15,000? (Do I have $15,000 in the bank even to pay it?). These are all important questions that any smart Canadian citzen might wish to ask themselves. This may give you a clue as to whether you are controlling your government or whether your government is actually in control of you.

That was a good question you asked! Thanks!
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Old 02 July 2010, 07:15 AM
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And the word idiot comes from Greek idiōtēs, meaning someone who minds his own affairs rather than meddle with other's.
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Old 02 July 2010, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
It's because in the U.S. the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. In fact, our government IS the people.

And we know what rotten specimens WE are.
Thankyou for starting my day with a smile :-)
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  #19  
Old 02 July 2010, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
goberniamento (Spanish)
Erm... it's gobierno. The word you wrote doesn't even exist.
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Old 02 July 2010, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
I've never understood why so many Americans seem so afraid of the government. Why, exactly, does government = bad in so many minds?
I always think of the government as being like your body's immune system.

When it works as designed, you never know it is working. So it gets no credit for preventing bad things from happening.
When it doesn't work at all, you get frustrated that it seems to have no purpose whatsoever.
When it goes overboard on what you think is a minor issue, you see it intruding into your life and wish it would just go away.
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