Transmissible

fatar760

New Member
UK English
Hi,

I'm new to the site, so apologise if I'm posting in the wrong forum.

I've been wondering about the word 'transmissible', which we are hearing plenty of throughout this pandemic.

Could someone please explain why the word is 'transmissible', and not 'transmittable'? I understand that it derives from the word 'transmission', but doesn't 'transmit' infer a journey of sorts. Covid is 'transmitted' from one person to another, so why isn't it more 'transmittable'?

I did look on Google but couldn't find any clear reason why the former is the preferred spelling. Maybe someone here knows...?

Many thanks
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You'll see that the WR Dictionary only gives 'transmissible': transmissible - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    But Chambers gives both spellings: transmissˈible adjective (also transmittˈable, or, less correctly transmittˈible)

    I haven't looked elsewhere, but it seems they are simply alternative spellings for the same meaning.

    Added: Lexico gives both spellings.

    The OED gives this as the etymology: Etymology: < Latin transmiss- (see transmiss v.) + -ible suffix. Compare French transmissible (16th cent. in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter), and Latin remissibilis, etc.

    And this: Etymology: formed as transmit v. + -able suffix; compare admittable adj.
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Sure, but my question is: why is it not 'transmittable'?
    In Latin, adjectives and nouns are regularly derived from the supinum stem, past participle stem of verbs rather then from the present tense stem. The infinitive of the verb in Latin is transmittere, the present stem is transmit-, the preterite stem is transmis- and the supinum, past participle stem is transmiss-. This is preserved in modern languages that have loaned such words (of inherited in case of Romance languages). Hence we have in English transmit for the verb (from the present stem), transmission (from the supinum stem) for the noun and transmissible (from the supinum stem) for the adjective. But it is all the same verb as a basis.

    These things aren't always consistent or logical. E.g. in to subtract and subtraction both, verb and noun are taken from the supinum stem while German took the verb from the present stem: subtrahieren and the noun from the supinum stem: Subtraktion. In Latin, the infinitive is subtrahere, the present stem is subtrah-, the preterite stem is subtrax- and the supinum, past participle stem is subtract-.
     
    Last edited:

    fatar760

    New Member
    UK English
    In Latin, adjectives and nouns are regularly derived from the supinum stem, past participle stem of verbs rather then from the present tense stem. The infinitive of the verb in Latin is transmettere, the present stem is transmit-, the preterite stem is transmis- and the supinum, past participle stem is transmiss-. This is preserved in modern languages that have loaned such words (of inherited in case of Romance languages). Hence we have in English transmit for the verb (from the present stem), transmission (from the supinum stem) for the noun and transmissible (from the supinum stem) for the adjective. But it is all the same verb as a basis.

    These things aren't always consistent or logical. E.g. in to subtract and subtraction both, verb and noun are taken from the supinum stem while German took the verb from the present stem: subtrahieren and the noun from the supinum stem: Subtraktion. In Latin, the infinitive is subtrahere, the present stem is subtrah-, the preterite stem is subtrax- and the supinum, past participle stem is subtract-.

    This is amazing - thank you!
     
    Top