October 05, 2016
- pensive (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : dreamily thoughtful2 : suggestive of sad thoughtfulness
- How do you use it?
- "On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool from whence he usually watched all the concerns of his little literary realm." (Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow")
- Are you a word wiz?
What do you think the root word of "pensive" means?The Latin verb "pendere" had two meanings, "to weigh," and "to pay." "Pensare," a form of "pendere," took on the meaning "to ponder," or weigh in the mind, and became the root of "pensive" and of the verb "poise," which means "to balance." The "pay" sense of "pendere" developed into the word "pension," a sum regularly paid to a person upon retirement. It also produced "dispense," meaning to give out something, and "stipend," a sum of money paid at regular times for services or expenses.