2. deport {verb} {archaic} = Conduct oneself in a specified manner:

deport (v.1): late 15c., "to behave," from Old French deporter "behave, deport (oneself)" (12c.), also with a wide range of meanings in Old French, such as "be patient; take one's (sexual) pleasure with; amuse, entertain; remain, delay, tarry; cheer, console, treat kindly; put aside, cast off, send away," from de- "from, off" (see de-) + porter "to carry," from Latin portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)).

OED discusses only the other definition of 'deport', as in expulsion; so I don't excerpt it here. I wish to dig deeper than the definition, which I already understand and so ask NOT about. I heed the Etymological Fallacy. What are some right ways of interpreting the etymology so that it feels reasonable and intuitive?

How does "from, off" combine with "to carry" to mean the above?

  • Deportment has to do with how you "carry" yourself. Literally, it can apply to how straight you stand, etc.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 31, 2015 at 3:55
  • To carry/take away from and also off the host country due to problems of conduct that conflict with the laws of the host country or also due to behavior against the law in the country of origin for which the individual did not face the proper authorities. Carry and off/from seem to have, in this sense, a pretty clear connection.
    – Nekito
    Mar 31, 2015 at 4:02
  • @HotLicks Although that doesn't explain why it has the de- prefix. Note that there's also comport, which is not considered archaic.
    – Barmar
    Mar 31, 2015 at 5:50

1 Answer 1


That particular meaning of deport is archaic, not used anymore, except in the noun form as deportment. And it is a nice word and means to treat with consideration; carry or conduct oneself well.

If you are curious how can one word come to mean two opposite things: It happens in English all the time, think of the word sanction it means two completely opposite concept. 1) a threatened official penalty 2) to give official permission or approval! 180-degree opposite.

Going back to the word deport as a negative word, if you notice the word has two morphemes de- means, to bar, to exclude something or someone, and port is door, entrance.

To deprive of the character of a port; to make no longer a port; to dis-port. OED

  • 1
    Another example of possible 180 meanings, "intimate". 1. to hint; suggest 2. to proclaim; make known
    – Zebrafish
    Apr 28, 2018 at 21:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.