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While reading a newspaper I saw the word nonchalance, looked up in dictionary, and read it is a negative word meaning "indifference; carelessness; coolness." It looks like the opposite of chalance, but I was surprised to see there is no word as chalance. I am wondering if:

  1. Isn't nonchalance made by adding non to chalance similar to nonsense?
  2. What is the opposite of nonchalance? Can I write nonnonchalance just for the fun of it?
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If you write nonnonchalance, I'm going to have to say nonnonnonchalance to give the opposite of that. –  user53829 Oct 10 '13 at 2:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It comes from the French nonchalant, which means indifferent.

From etymonline.com:

1670s, from Fr. nonchalant, prp. of nonchaloir "be indifferent to, have no concern for" (13c.), from non- "not" + chaloir "have concern for," ultimately from L. calere "be hot" (see calorie). French chaland "customer, client" is of the same origin.

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hmm so in a very vague sense chalant is word opposite of nonchalant though it is not used –  Anurag Uniyal Mar 21 '11 at 13:53
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Chalant is not used, even in French. So I definitely would not use it in English either. But yes, if you ever find yourself in France in the Middle Ages, then you will be able to use the verb chaloir! –  nico Mar 21 '11 at 13:57
    
There is still chaleur, heat/warmth: if you're not prepared to work up a sweat, you're non-chalant. So far my little mnemonic. –  Cerberus Mar 22 '11 at 2:17
    
Sure, chaleur is still used, but I guess it is more derived from the Latin calor (as are the Italian calore, caldo or the Spanish caliente). Chalant, would be the present participle of chaloir, and that's definitely a verb which I never heard used. –  nico Mar 22 '11 at 7:17
    
The only current use of chaloir is "Peu m'en chaut" (I couldn't care less") and it is old-fashioned. –  Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 24 '11 at 9:44

protected by MετάEd Oct 10 '13 at 3:12

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