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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Abhor, meaning to shrink with horror or repugnance from, is a term that incorporates the sensations of disgust, fear, and hate all in one. Though akin to these feelings, abhor lends a stronger tone to describing the objects or people which evoke said feelings. Abhor can also be used to express other feelings of contempt or in place of the verbs to loathe or abominate. For example, the statement “I hate Mitt Romney” may require further sentences to fully describe one’s feelings on Mr. Romney whereas “I abhor Mitt Romney” may suffice to tell of the horror and repugnance one might experience when listening to his political platform. Hate may be used in instances where the feelings stop at hate and it suffices to describe one’s emotion. Abhor is better suited in situations where hate is simply not strong enough or one wishes to encompass a broader spectrum of feeling. Abhor might not be used, however, when feeling distaste for a certain glossary assignment. The displeasure and unhappiness one may feel towards it are unlikely strong enough, nor do these emotions fall into the same categories as something one might abhor.
Today, abhor still means much the same today as its classical Latin abhorrēre meaning to shrink back from, recoil from, be averse or opposed to, to be incompatible with, be uncongenial or repugnant to, be at variance with. The word is rooted in the verb horrēre meaning to bristle or to shudder. Abhor’s meaning is consistent with every variance of the word in Latin’s daughter languages from Middle French abhorrer to be disgusted by, Italian aborrire and so on. However, the meaning changes somewhat when translated to the Spanish aburrir which means to bore or to tire.


"abhor." Oxford English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/275?>.

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