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inexorable (adj.)    1550s, from Middle French inexorable and directly from Latin inexorabilis "that cannot be moved by entreaty," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + exorabilis "able to be entreated," from exorare "to prevail upon," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + orare "pray" (see orator). ...

exorable (adj.)    1570s, "susceptible of being moved by entreaty" (a word much rarer than its opposite and probably existing now only as a back-formation from it), from Latin exorabilis "easily entreated, influenced by prayer," from exorare "to persuade" (see inexorable) ...

1. What's the meaning of 'pray' as bolded above? Is it the modern one of prayer, or the olden one?

2. How did the 2 syntagma (ex- "out" + orare "pray") combine to mean
exorare "to prevail upon,"? I don't understand this key link in the etymology.

  • Pray = "entreat" (e.g."beg" someone [to give or do something). Prevail upon = "Persuade" someone (to give or do something)--typically by entreaty. – StoneyB May 24 '15 at 3:25
  • It's a fallacy to assume that the meaning of a word can necessarily be deduced through an analysis of its semantic constituents: the meanings of words are constantly evolving, and words that have a common root can evolve in very different directions. A word's etymology is at best a guide to its meaning, not a definitive predictor of it. In short, you're overthinking this. – Erik Kowal May 24 '15 at 3:50
  • @ErikKowal You're referring to the Etymological Fallacy, right? I do heed it, as I publicise in my profile, but I've been told by other users to omit it in my OP. Maybe I ought to repeat it in my posts. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal May 24 '15 at 4:16
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    In this case it is not a fallacy: the meaning is perfectly deduced trough a simple dissection of the elements. – user119052 May 24 '15 at 5:06
  • No, don't! Don't repeat the mantra: I heed the etymological fallacy. @ErikKowal what have you done, after fifty posts of "I heed" you're now telling him to do that?! :)) – Mari-Lou A May 24 '15 at 5:51
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  1. What's the meaning of 'pray' as bolded above? Is it the modern one of prayer, or the olden one?

  2. How did the 2 syntagma (ex- "out" + orare "pray") combine to mean exorare "to prevail upon,"? I don't understand this key link in the etymology

  • 3 orare means: 'to pray/beg/plead'
  • 2 ex doesn't mean only out, but also: 'out of/ from/ because of' as in
  • ex-voto = 'because of/from a vow',
  • 1 in means: not,
  • 4 able means: capable/possible, therefore:

  • in-ex-ora-ble = [not]1 - [through/because of]2 - [pleading/begging/ a prayer]3 - [obtainable]4

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