Can someone please explain how these two words,

  • ingenuus

  • ingeniōsus

both deriving from gignō, come to mean what they respectively do?


According to Wiktionary, ingenuus is made of in- +‎ gignō +‎ -uus.

The entry for ingeniōsus gives no etymology. So I had to look up ingenious, whose etymology is also in- + gignere; and ingenium, again in- + gignere.

I found -ōsus. I believe this may be the third element in ingeniōsus.

My random guess is something like:

  • The in- in ingenuus is a negation. So the word has the structure of in- +‎ [gignō +‎ -uus], or not caused, amenable to meanings like natural and candid (or unaffected).

  • The in- in ingeniōsus means in or at. So the word has [in- + gignere] + -ōsus, or [at birth]-full, amenable to full of quality and therefore clever.

The answer I am looking for would take each of the words (ingenuus and ingeniōsus), break it to its constituent parts, identify those parts by meaning and usage, say what was the probable first application of the word, and if possible trace how that might have expanded to the more figurative senses.

For -uus, Wiktionary lists contiguus, succiduus, and vacuus. For these words the present and the perfect stems (maybe these are not the right terms) look alike. But the case of gignō perhaps suggests that -uus is always attaching itself to the perfect stem? What happens to other verbs with different present and perfect stems when they take -uus? Thank you.

  • 1
    The linked Wiki clearly says "Usage notes: Affixed primarily to verbs. Not to be confused with in- (“not”)."
    – Alex B.
    Jun 29 '17 at 23:01

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