2

I quote Etymonline. To wit, how did

in- "on" (from PIE root *en "in")
+ iungere "to join together" (from nasalized form of PIE root *yeug- "to join")

compound to mean

"impose (on), inflict; subject to; assign (to)"

?

4

The first few OED entries tell the tale.

  1. trans. To join together. Obs.

  2. In early use: To impose (a penalty, task, duty, or obligation); said esp. of a spiritual director
    (to enjoin penance, etc.). Hence in mod. use: To prescribe authoritatively and with emphasis (an action, a course of conduct, state of feeling, etc.).

  3. To prohibit, forbid (a thing); to prohibit (a person) from (a person or thing, or some action).
    Now only in Law: To prohibit or restrain by an injunction.

So the way it worked was, first it was just joining together, then it became joining a rule with a person, then it became specialized on the nature of the rule, limiting it to a negative rule -- Don't Do X. Prohibitions have always constituted a pretty prominent variety of rule, after all.
OK?

  • Thanks. What do trans. and obs. mean? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jun 21 '14 at 8:11
  • 1
    @LePressentiment: Dictionary abbreviations; trans. identifies the verb enjoin as a transitive verb, and Obs. identifies the definition as Obsolete -- i.e, enjoin is no longer used to mean this in modern English (but may have been, in old texts). – John Lawler Jun 21 '14 at 14:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.