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Another good new word

March 18, 2016

This isn’t in fact a totally new word, since it appears in Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was published in 1968. It’s a forty-eight-year-old word. However, it’s still standing on the doorstep waiting to be invited in by all the dictionaries, and I would like to encourage that long-overdue invitation. The word is disemelevator – meaning to exit from an elevator. By analogy with disembark, of course (bark being an old word for boat). Let’s all start using it, everyone. (The British version ought in theory to be disemlift, of course, but that wouldn’t sound anywhere near as good.)

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  1. Dis-em-bark comes from em-bark – to board a ship. So, I assume, you would have to em-elevator before you dis-em-elevator an elevator. And em-elevator doesn’t sound harmonious.

    Perhaps a better choice would be to en-elevate and dis-elevate. -ator does not seem correct when used as a verb.

    I dis-em-elevator-ed.

    I am dis-em-elevator-ing.

  2. Aikaterini Procopaki permalink

    I agree with aminthemystic, the m in disembark is due to the assimilation of n before b. No such assimilation would occur in en-elevator or en-lift, we wouldn’s say emlist, emlighten, or emamoured, would we? By the way, Enlift is the brand name of an anti-depressant!.
    But do we really need such word? So we would need en-train, en-tram, en-escalator, em-bus, en-tube and so on.

  3. Yes, you are right about the m – as you say, n becomes m before b (and p) but not before other consonants. Nevertheless I do still like “disemelevator”.

    We do say “entrain”, by the way. But we don’t say “disentrain”. We say “de-train”.

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