I’ve written about my fascination with be- prefix words. I keep an annual list of words I come across (in the wild, so to speak) beginning with be-. Meghan Markle wore a bespoke party dress to her wedding reception. Some of 2018’s finds: dazed and bedazzled; betokening a boorish inability; bestrode the cannon singing; besmeared with the blood of human sacrifice; bestirred civic pride; his beleaguered camp. And on and on.
I find the suffix tude enchanting. It means the state or condition of an abstract noun. Quietude and plentitude — the dressed up versions of quiet and plenty. I love reading the word pulchritude, but don’t use it much because many don’t know that pulchr- means beautiful.
Attitude may be the most common of these word cousins. I love this definition: state of readiness to respond in a characteristic way. Gratitude and solitude are jewels.
I was surprised and delighted to read the word desuetude this week. It has ‘suet’ smack in the middle, which makes me think of elk butchering, but isn’t related. It means a state of disuse. I wonder if desuetude is in desuetude.
Then I came upon this sentence in a biography of Josephine, wife of Napoleon. “I make this confession to you in all sincerity, that I may allay your inquietudes.” And, while my tude radar was up, “solicitude in reference to the accommodation of her attendants” winked.