‘Educe’ — what does the word mean?

Reading time: About one minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: educe…

I like being able to figure out the meaning of words from context.

This challenge presented itself to me most recently when I was reading the novel (or was it autobiographical fiction?) Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar.

The word was educe, and here is how Akhtar used it:

It was during my mother’s grief over Latif’s murder that she would make comments that led to the lines in my play comments in which I would educe not only the startling depth of my mother’s divided loyalties but also the contours of the deepest fault line, I believe, separating so much of the so-called Muslim world from the so-called West.

I decided the word probably meant “figured out” or “determined,” and then I went to look it up. Turns out educe means elicted or evoked so I was close, but not quite on the nose.

According to my dictionary of etymology, the word dates back to the early 15th century and literally means, “to draw out, extract; branch out.” It comes from the Latin word educere, meaning “to lead out, bring out.” ( Ex means “out” and ducere means “to lead.”)  An alternative meaning, “to bring into view or operation” dates back to roughly 1600. And yet another meaning “to draw a conclusion from data,” is from 1837.

Interestingly, the word has a similar root as education. The Latin term educare (just one letter different — an A instead of an E — means to “bring up, rear, educate” and linguists see the two terms as connected. which is related to educere “bring out, lead forth,” from

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