Word of the Week: internecine

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: internecine

Internecine is an adjective that refers to a struggle between factions, particularly one that is especially brutal and mutually destructive.

The word is pronounced inter-nee-seen.  I’ve always been a bit mystified by this word and I’ve never really understood the full meaning of it.

I’ve heard it used in phrases like: “internecine fighting” and have caught the meeting of squabbling between different factions but have never gotten the sense of essential brutality from the context.

Adding to my confusion, I’ve always heard it pronounced inter-nigh-seen.  This formed a connection in my mind to the Nicene Creed which I learn while growing up Catholic.  This always gave me the vague though of it having come from theological disagreements.

While I realize that these types of arguments can, and in fact do, lead to brutal struggles, at the time (I suppose because I was young) I had a much more benign mental picture.


About Dan Kingsepp, ACS, ALS
I'm starting this blog to share my thought on the use of the English language and my experiences as a Toastmaster.

One Response to Word of the Week: internecine

  1. The Hook says:

    I feel more intelligent already! Thanks!

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