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I'm sitting here, and hear someone respond to a request with "I'd be delighted". I understand the words to say this is a positive response along the lines of "sure, I'd be happy to help".

But I'm confused right now. When I look at the word, my mind breaks it up into de-light. And to me, that doesn't seem like a positive thing.

Hoping someone can shed some light on this for me (ha).

closed as off-topic by anongoodnurse, Kristina Lopez, Robusto, user66974, Blessed Geek Oct 27 '14 at 20:21

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – anongoodnurse, Kristina Lopez, Robusto, Community, Blessed Geek
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hi, and welcome to ELU. Do you have the same problem with delicious and delectable? They all come from the same root word: c.1200, Old French delit from delitier (please greatly). This is where a good dictionary helps. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. See List of general references. Please take a few minutes to take the site tour and visit the help center for guidance on how to use this site. – anongoodnurse Oct 27 '14 at 19:29
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    One of the joys of English is that many words can essentially be "parsed" incorrectly, to produce contradictory meanings. English is a punster's delight, and the de-light of dour soreheads. – Hot Licks Oct 27 '14 at 19:59
  • When I looked delight up at dictionary.com, it provided nothing that would answer my question. Sure, maybe some dictionaries will answer my question, but I thought that was "enough" to make this a question here. Apparently not. – Michael Gazonda Oct 27 '14 at 21:54
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Reference OED:


Noun-

The etymological delite is found as late as 1590, but earlier in 16th c. it had generally been supplanted by delight, an erroneous spelling after light, flight, etc.

Verb-

The current erroneous spelling after light, etc. arose in the 16th c., and prevailed about 1575: the Bible of 1611 occasionally retained delite.

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In some words, the initial letters de connotates "undo," for example "accelerate" and de-accelerate." In other cases, the two words are total unrelated:

You can light a candle, but you cannot delight it. You must extinguish it.

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    Well, you could delight the candle, but in those cases where the prefixed version exists as a separate word, it's pretty common to use a hyphen and in speech will normally get an extra stress on the prefix. Return vs re-turn, (p)reserve vs (p)re-serve, etc. – guifa Oct 27 '14 at 19:58
  • @guifa Your points are well taken. – Gary's Student Oct 27 '14 at 20:03
  • This all reminds me of the schoolboy who was asked by his teacher to put the words delight, depot and defender into a sentence. After scratching his head he said 'De light was out, de pot was gone, so I did it in de fender'. The joke 'has whiskers on it' and dates from my own schooldays when people still had open fires, and used chamber pots. – WS2 Oct 27 '14 at 22:05
  • @WS2 Similar to the remark that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart spent the last 30 years of his life composing and the next 222 years decomposing. – Gary's Student Oct 27 '14 at 22:27
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    @Gary'sStudent In my day the joke was that an Austrian farmer uncovered Mozart's grave and asked him why he was furiously erasing an immense stack of musical manuscripts ... – StoneyB Oct 27 '14 at 22:41

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