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It seems that the Latin verb impartire (more commonly impertire) means "to share with another, to communicate, bestow, impart". The English verb impart comes from this.

What does the prefix in- mean here? It usually means "into" or "in", but that doesn't seem to make sense with this word. Surely it can't mean dividing communication into smaller pieces.

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  • Do you mind if I edit your question to focus more on Latin?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 8, 2020 at 6:56
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Not at all! As always, please edit my questions to improve them.
    – user37
    Jun 8, 2020 at 6:56
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    I edited it and voted up. The etymology of the English word not very important for the question about Latin, so I only included a link. Long quotes distract, especially now that the question was not about all of it. I added links to a Latin dictionary for the relevant words. The question is about Latin, so a Latin dictionary is important to consult.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 8, 2020 at 7:09

1 Answer 1

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Partire in tria means to divide into three things. This idiomatic use of in is, perhaps, the reason it was prefixed to partire to make impertire. When you impart something, you are dividing it into things, whether three things, or two things, or twenty things, for the purpose of divvying it up. If the particular number of things is not what's important, there is no reason to spell it out. You just need to prefix in to your verb and get on with saying what's really important.

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  • This reminds me of how Gaul was divisa in partes tres. A famously attested idiom.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 9, 2020 at 21:56
  • Quite different from the meaning of in- in indivisus. :)
    – C Monsour
    Jun 9, 2020 at 23:22

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