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Word of the Day

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Definitions for esperance
  1. Obsolete. hope.

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Citations for esperance
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune, / Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear. William Shakespeare, King Lear, 1608
Soon after she fell in a grievous sickness, and was despaired of all men; but is partly convalesced, without esperance of long life. Sharon Turner, The History of the Reigns of Edward the Sixth, Mary, and Elizabeth, 1929
Origin of esperance
late Middle English
1400-1450
Esperance offers a perfect example of the “prothetic” or “prosthetic” vowel e that appears before an s followed by a stop consonant such as p, t at the beginning of a word in some Romance languages. Latin sperāre “to hope” is esperar in Spanish and Portuguese and espérer in French, but sperare in Italian. The prothetic vowel has persisted in modern Spanish, e.g., estación, and in Portuguese, e.g., estação “(train, bus) station,” but not in modern French formations, e.g., station, or in borrowings, e.g., sport (from English). The word entered English in the 15th century.
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