General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

What is the etymology of the word 'Congress'?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9757points) June 30th, 2009
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19 Answers

wenn's avatar

im gonna guess something greek/latin

robmandu's avatar

Wikipedia explains:

A congress is a formal meeting of representatives from different countries (or by extension constituent states), or independent organizations (such as different trade unions).

The term Congress was chosen for the United States Congress to emphasize the status of each state represented there as a self-governing unit. Subsequently to the use of congress by the US legislature, the term has been adopted by many states within unions, and by unitary nation-states in the Americas, to refer to their legislatures.

ru2bz46's avatar

Maybe a combination of “con” and “regress”? ~

nikipedia's avatar

1528, from L. congressus “a meeting, hostile encounter,” pp. of congredi “meet with, fight with,” from com- “together” + gradi “to walk,” from gradus “a step” (see grade). Sense of “meeting of delegates” is first recorded 1678. Meaning “sexual union” is from 1589. Used in ref. to the national legislative body of the American states since 1775 (though since 1765 in America as a name for proposed bodies).

oops….didn’t read link!

lillycoyote's avatar

@nikipedia two great minds with but a single thought :)

mrswho's avatar

Its the opposite of progress? (badum pa psssh, sorry guys)

Jeruba's avatar

All the -gress words are related through their Latin roots:

progress: (verb) to go forward, advance; (noun) forward movement
regress: (verb) to go back
ingress: (noun) entrance
egress: (verb) to go or come out; (noun) exit
congress: (noun) the act of coming together and meeting
retrogress: (verb) to move backward, revert

In all of them, the “gress” part has the movement—the going—and the prefix indicates direction of movement.

Aggression is also related, meaning attack—going at. There are probably others I’m forgetting.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s also digress (verb), to go apart, split off.

Ogress does not belong to this crowd.

Jack79's avatar

Ogress? Of course it does! It’s when you step on a pile of poo and go “Oh”. Though it should be called “Oopsgress” hehe

GAs btw Jeruba :)
the only one I think you missed was transgress

Jeruba's avatar

Transgress! Absolutely! Thanks, Jack.. To go over or beyond, in the sense of crossing a line or boundary.

I bet there’s at least one more.

cwilbur's avatar

You could make up some.

pretergress, to go beyond something.
oggress (ob + gress), to run into something.
intergress, to go between something.
antegress, to go before something.
supergress, to go on top of something.
subgress, to go beneath something.

Also, there’s the noun form, which mostly makes it into English as -grade. retrograde, antegrade.

Jeruba's avatar

dementogress: to go insane
truculentogress: to go wild
nudogress: to go naked
bangress: to go off, explode

arnbev959's avatar

Oh man. Funny that you should ask this. I saw the word “congress” used strangely someplace at 3:40 am on June 20th. I tried to get a definition via text message, but just the usual definition came up. I wish I could remember what I reading. I thought it was Jude the Obscure, but a quick search through the text online shows that it couldn’t have been. Ugh I wish I could remember. I wish I hadn’t seen this question. I could have forgotten about it. This is going to bother me now.

ru2bz46's avatar

My new favorite word: nudogress. :P

Jeruba's avatar

@petethepothead, was it something to do with sexual congress? That is another perfectly apt use of the word. (And I can imagine a place for it in Jude the Obscure, although I don’t recall that Hardy got quite so explicit about things.)

cwilbur's avatar

@Jeruba: No fair! I limited myself to actual Latin prefixes!

Jeruba's avatar

I know you did, @cwilbur, and very aptly, too. But you can’t say I didn’t take your excellent suggestion. Unfair? Nonsense. You should be taking credit. Have any to add?

cwilbur's avatar

Oh, in that case….

ludogress: to go to the game
Lutogress: to go to Paris
ludagress: a rapper, misspelled even further

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