October 4, 2008

From lexicographer Grant Barrett , who kindly answered my email asking why deploy isn't the opposite of the noun ploy:

"The problem here is that 'ploy' and 'deploy' come from different etymological roots. One is not a form of the other. So you're unlikely to encounter an appropriate verb based on the noun 'ploy.'

'Ploy' is originally Scots and northern English, perhaps from obsolete noun sense of employ meaning 'an occupation.'

'Deploy' is from French déployer, from Latin displicāre to unfold and is related to 'display.'

So, the wordplay is likely to fail and you'll have to fall back on an unrelated antonym, and say the ploy has been rebuffed."
I still think there should be a verb to unploy a ploy that has already been put in action; unfortunately, given the root, that verb should maybe be unemploy, which has a well-worn negative connotation in its past participle adjective form unemployed.


Blogger FOARP said...

Perhaps now you can explain why it is impossible to become 'gruntled' after being 'disgruntled' - or maybe that's just life all over!


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