Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics

Dashboard
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A

How did 'solicit' semantically shift to signify ‘manage affairs’?

+0
−0

I don't understand the semantic shift from sollicitāre ‘disturb, agitate’ to the meaning of "manage affairs", probably because "disturb, agitate" pejoratively connotes discontentment and upheaval, but "manage affairs" neutrally (or even positively) connotes business or transactions. So this shift in connotation also baffles me.

For example, in some Commonwealth countries' split legal profession, a "solicitor" signifies a lawyer for non-contentious matters who provides general advice. A solicitor doesn't "disturb, agitate" in 2021 English meanings of these verbs.

solicit [15]

The ultimate source of solicit is Latin sollicitus ‘agitated’, which also gave English solicitous [16]. It was a compound adjective, formed from _sollus _‘whole’ (source also of English solemn) and citus, the past participle of ciēre ‘move’ (source of English cite, excite, etc) – hence literally ‘completely moved’. From it was formed the verb sollicitāre‘disturb, agitate’, which passed into English via Old French solliciter. By the time it arrived it had acquired the additional meaning ‘manage affairs’, which lies behind the derived solicitor [15]; and the original ‘disturb’ (which has since died out) gave rise in the 16th century to ‘trouble with requests’.
      French insouciant, borrowed by English in the 19th century, goes back ultimately to Latin sollicitāre.

Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto, p 467 Left column.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comments

0 answers

Sign up to answer this question »

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!