WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2022
tending to move away from a stimulus or situation.
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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF ABIENT?
Abient “tending to move away from a stimulus or situation” comes from the Latin term abiēns (stem abient-) “going away,” the present participle of the verb abīre “to go away, exit, depart.” Abīre is formed from the preposition ab “from, away” and the verb īre “to go,” which has two stems: -ient and -it. The verb īre also gives rise to ambīre “to go around,” inīre “to go into, begin,” and trānsīre “to go across, cross,” and to see evidence of all these Latin verbs in English today, compare ambient and ambition, initial and initiate, and transient and transit. The -it stem also pops up in circuit (from Latin circumīre“to go round, circle”), exit (from exīre“to go out”), and even obituary (from obīre “to go toward,” often used euphemistically in the sense “to meet one’s death”). Abient was first recorded in English in the early 1930s.
HOW IS ABIENT USED?
In the case of negative affect, the motivating experience can be best described, not as punishing, but as experience that tends to be psychologically noxious and difficult to tolerate. Such experience instigates abientbehavior—behavior that tends to produce avoidance and to reduce attention to and/or communion with the object of the affect when there is an object.
CHARLES D. SPIELBERGER, “AFFECT AND BEHAVIOR: ANXIETY AS A NEGATIVE AFFECT,” ANXIETY AND BEHAVIOR, 1966
To avoid writing, I engage in abientbehavior: walking the dog, cleaning the floor, ironing T-shirts, or reading junk mail.
NATALIE HARWOOD, THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO LEARNING LATIN, 2003
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