Meanings: “Sustainable”

January 23, 2012

“Sustainable” comes from the Latin sustinere (we get it through the French sustenir), and the meaning from the roots is sub “up from below” + tenere “to hold.” It’s become quite a fashionable word, with specific reference to environmental matters.

XKCD shows us that “sustainable” is not sustainable.  Language Log comments.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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