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Why does unremitting mean going on without interruptions?

Here I think un- means opposite.

remit means "send back". So remitting means the action of remit. There seems no issue of whether interruptions are involved.

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closed as off-topic by MετάEd, user49727, Rory Alsop, Andrew Leach, Matt E. Эллен Nov 12 '13 at 15:08

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Unremitting, remit, remission – Matt E. Эллен Nov 12 '13 at 15:08
+1. Alas, I see downvotes for many of your questions, but please stay encouraged and persistent. You have my assurance that most, if not all, your questions on etymology have helped me supernally. So I've upvoted many of them. Please maintain your commendable curiosity which merits upvotes, and not downvotes! – LePressentiment Jun 1 at 22:17
@LawArea51Proposal-Commit: Thanks. Glad that my questions have helped you in unknown way. I am not thinking about languages currently, and I don't have questions now. But if I have, I most likely will post them on ELL than ELU, because ELL is more friendly. – Tim Jun 1 at 22:41
@Tim You're most welcome and too humble: your questions have helped me significantly, not just in unknown way! I also agree with your sentiments about ELL vs ELU, but beware that etymology is allowed only on ELU, or Linguistics (etymology is off-topic at ELL). – LePressentiment Jun 1 at 23:46

2 Answers 2

Remit has more than one definition. The important one to consider here is:

intransitive verb
1. a : to abate in force or intensity

source — Merriam Webster

So unremitting here means without abating in force or intensity or with constant force or intensity.

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'Remit' is a word with several meanings, both as verb and noun. But the first of those meanings in my dictionary (ODE) is 'cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment)' The example it gives is: 'The excess of the sentence over 12 months was remitted'.

The word that used to be used in Britain, before 'parole' was adopted, was 'remission'. In the 1950s one used to hear of prisoners getting 'remission'.

It is not so much used in the present participle, except in the negative 'unremitting'. e.g. unremitting toil.

I think that we tend to use 'remit' in this sense more than the Americans. The reason for that may be that they use the word more in another sense of sending a payment.

In Britain we also use the noun 'remit' as 'a task or area of activity officially assigned to an individual or organisation' - 'The committee was caught up in issues which did not fall within its remit'.

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What does "refrain from exacting or enforcing" mean? – Tim Nov 10 '13 at 6:36
@Tim I think you need to get your dictionary out Tim! Those three words should be there. – WS2 Nov 10 '13 at 9:23
@Tim My own questions on the root may help you: – LePressentiment May 31 at 3:57

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