Mar 23, 2016

Etymology Expeditions: Words for Frustration

I can't even count how many times I wanted to throw Ulysses at the wall. Reading it, you will be frustrated in a thousand different ways. So, in honour of Joyce, here we go: words for frustration.

The word frustration is from the 1550s (I guess people back then had plenty to be frustrated about). It comes from Latin frustrationem "a deception, a disappointment."

Exasperation is from the same time, the 1540s, and the word comes from Late Latin exasperationem, from exasperare "roughen, irritate."

Vexation comes from Latin vexationem "annoyance, harassing, distress, trouble," from vexare "harass, trouble."

Aggravation has its roots in Late Latin aggravationem, from aggravare "to make heavier."

Irritation comes from Latin irritationem "irritation, wrath, stimulus, anger," from irritare "to excite, provoke."

All this leads to dissatisfaction, from dis "lack of" + Latin satisfactionem "a satisfying of a creditor."

And then comes depression, from Latin depressionem, from deprimere "to press down, depress."

But if you're lucky, you might end up in a place of calm acceptance, from ad "to" + capere "take." So acceptance is to take what's offered. That's all you can do, really.

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