Let us now dis famous words

In “Don Quixote” I ran across this line about a host who has had enough of the knight errant’s behavior: “The innkeeper, who began somewhat to disrelish these mad tricks of his guest, resolved to dispatch him forthwith.”

“Disrelish” is now on my current list of favorite words. If you want to add a little savor to your writing, you can attach the “dis” prefix to a lot of words and still retain your good standing as a practitioner of English. We do it all the time when we disagree, when we displease and when we disengage. There are plenty of less-common words that are just as acceptable, attaching “dis” to a word to create its opposite.

Want something a little more stylish than “forget”? Try “disremember.” Are you stripping something of ornaments or decoration? You have just disadorned it. Here are some other options to keep handy:

Disaffirm
Disanchor
Disattire
Disburden
Disbind
Discommodate
Disemploy
Disfurnish
Disgarnish
Dispraise
Distune
Disvalue

Remember that a little of this goes a long way. You don’t want to drop odd words into every sentence, or even every paragraph. Then you will distress your reader and fall into disfavor.


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