Today's Word "Segue"

To make a transition without interruption on

Published in Vocabulary

segue \SEG-way\ (verb) - To proceed without pause from one musical piece to another; to make a transition without interruption.

"From a critique of Kant's categorical imperative Ramsey segued into a story about his last trout-fishing trip, leaving most of us behind and a bit befuddled."


Today's word was lifted directly from Italian segue "there follows," 3rd person singular seguire "to follow" from Vulgar Latin *sequere "to follow." The Latin word is based on sekw- which underlies dozens of Latinate English words, including "sect," "sequel," "execute," "sequence," "sue," and "society" (from Latin socius "companion," originally "follower"). "Second" derives from sekw+ondo from Latin secundus "following, next." "Segue" escaped the bounds of the musical world and crept into academic jargon in the 1980's and since then has spread well beyond the ivy-covered halls. It is all too often used as a synonym of "transition," which it is not, but rather a shift from one theme or thought to another without an intervening transition.


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