The other day, someone used a word that I hadn’t heard in a long time: obstreperous. I love the way that rolls off the tongue. It means noisy, unruly, belligerent, cantankerous – you get the picture. Obstreperous originates from the Latin prefix ob- (against) and strepere (to make a noise). A drunk being hustled out of a bar, while protesting loudly might be described as obstreperous.

Other meanings for the prefix ‘ob’ include contrary, against, towards or in the way of.


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It appears in several English words including:

obdurate (from the Latin durare – to harden) – inflexibleobject (from the Latin iacere – to throw) – argue againstobligate (from the Latin ligare – to bind) – bind legallyobliterate (from the Latin litera – letter) – erase or destroyobnoxious (from the Latin noxius – harmful) – offensiveobsession (from the Latin sidere – to besiege) – persistent preoccupationobstacle (from the Latin stare – to stand still) – a barrierobstinate (from the Latin struere- to stand) – stubbornobstruct (from the Latin struere- to pile up) – impede

Variations of ob- include oc-, of-, op-, and o- in words such as:

occasion (from the Latin cadere – to fall) – opportunityocclude(from the Latin claudere – to shut) – obstructoccult (from the Latin culere – to cover) – shut off from viewoccupy (from the Latin capere/cupare – to seize) – take possession ofoccur (from the Latin currere – to run) – happenoffend (from the Latin fendere – to hit) – violate or cause painoffer (from the Latin ferre – to carry) – present or make availableomit (from the Latin mittere – to send) – leave outopponent (from the Latin ponere – to place) – adversary

More ob- words on Obnoxious Observations

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10 Responses to “Obsessed With Ob- Words”

David ben-Avramon August 01, 2008 2:21 pm

obama – the next president of the United States

Sharon Hurley Hallon August 01, 2008 3:47 pm

lol, David

Carynon August 01, 2008 7:23 pm

Which brings to mind a few other “Ob” words:

obtuseobscurantoblique

Not that I won’t vote for the man… although I most likely won’t vote for the man. But,who knows??

Allenaon August 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Sharon, I read this as obsessed with “the OB” on my Google page LOL.

Sharon Hurley Hallon August 01, 2008 8:11 pm

lol, Allena