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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Word of the Day lorn

Word of the Day

  • lorn
  • audio pronunciation
  • \LORN\
: desolate, forsaken
"One large saucepan lay lorn near the doorstep, a proof that Foster was human." — From Arnold Bennett's 1910 novelClayhanger

"It's a bit unsettling here seeing slides, climbing structures, and the like lost in lone, lorn decay." — From a photography exhibit review by Mark Feeney in The Boston Globe, December 2, 2011
"Lorn" and "forlorn" are synonyms that can both mean "desolate" or "forsaken." The similarity in form and meaning of the two words is hardly a coincidence. "Lorn" comes down to us from "loren," the Middle English past participle of the verb "lesen" ("to lose"), itself a descendent of the Old English "lēosan." Similarly, "forlorn" comes from the Middle English "forloren," a descendent of Old English verb "forlēosan," which also means "to lose." The "for-" in "forlorn" is a no longer productive prefix meaning, among other things, "completely," "excessively," or "to exhaustion." Nowadays, "forlorn" is considerably more common than "lorn." "Lorn" does, however, appear as the second element in the compound "lovelorn" ("bereft of love or of a lover").


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