Odd Words: Apodosis

Return to Sender - Apodosis

Page 13 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition kind of sucked. I thought it might be a page where I knew all the words. But it turned out to be just a clump at the beginning of the page.

Just the same, there are already days that I think this series was a very bad idea. I’m pretty skeptical today because I didn’t have a great deal to work with. And today, we have a word that is about grammar. I suppose that isn’t such a bad thing. It’s helpful to me to know these obscure words to describe how sentences work. I’m just not sure how interested you all are. Then again, since when have I cared what you all think? (Actually: all the time — especially when I’m writing something I know you aren’t interested in. Sorry, but it’s for your own good!)

Beyond Apodosis

So what do we have besides “apodosis” to make your life interesting? There is “apopemptic,” which is an adjective that describes the act of leaving — apparently in an official sense. And there is “apothegm,” which is a pithy saying, which I guess makes it different enough from “aphorism” to make it worth while (it’s more general). Finally, there is “apperceive,” which is to be conscious of perception. That’s a good one because so much of my life is habit. Did I take my thyroid medication today? I try to be very conscious of it so I don’t wonder all day. Of course, I could buy one of those daily pill boxes, but why? I can just work on apperceiving it.

But here is apodosis:

A·pod·o·sis  noun  \ə-‘päd-ə-səs\

1. the consequence clause in a conditional sentence, beginning with “then.”

Date: early 17th century.

Origin: Greek, απόδοση, which means to return.

Example: Of course, not all conditions begin with the word “if” and end with a clause starting with “then.” Nor is the protasis always placed before the apodosis.If… Then… Conditional Statements

You will note that the definition above is not correct. the apodosis usually starts with “then,” but not always. I just thought you would want to know, given how much you are likely to use the word.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

5 thoughts on “Odd Words: Apodosis

  1. Ooooh, Air Mail stamps and stationery! That’s a nice bit of nostalgia. For you young-uns, the stamps were more expensive than surface mail and the sheets and envelopes were of special lightweight paper. And blue. Getting an Air Mail letter was rather special, like a long distance phone call or a telegram. Usually it had come from somewhere overseas.

    So here’s some Moon Mail for you —
    http://postalmuseum.si.edu/stampstakeflight/moonmail.html

    • I didn’t know that, even though I’ve studied that mission. It’s been a great annoyance to me that the reporting at the time was, “Hey look: car on the Moon!” There was little discussion of why that was important. Anyway: stamps on the Moon!

    • Yup. Although I don’t mind a little silliness. I do wonder if that wasn’t more a result of the bad coverage. “Well, they’re sure to cover this!”

    • I remember a park ranger at Mount St. Helens (the volcano that was surrounded by gray landscape at the time) that Rangers kept finding golf balls. Apparently people want photos of themselves playing golf with a moon-ish background. Which is fine — but pick your ball up afterwards!

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