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“Agreeance” in a Nutshell

“Agreeance” in a Nutshell

Do you sometimes feel intimidated by words that are not typically used in everyday speech?

And, have you come to a point wherein you doubted whether a word indeed exists in the world of languages or only in your head?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, then you’re living proof that language apparently is a living organism that thrives along with human civilization.

Read on to have an in-depth understanding of the seemingly-made up word “agreeance,” and whether it is still applicable in modern-day English.

 

Does the word “agreeance” exist, and is it grammatically correct?

The term “agreeance” is the obsolete form of “agreement,” referring strictly to the “state of agreement,” does exist and is linguistically recognized as a word. It was derived from the French term agréance that was first used in the mid-1500s and disappeared towards the 19th century. It is less likely suitable nor applicable in contemporary English and would utterly raise some eyebrows when used colloquially. Nevertheless, it may be sporadically observed in historical or legal texts wherein authors deliberately use a more precise form of language in representing thoughts.

 

Agreeance: Meaning, Usage, Etymology,  and Morphology

The internet offers a relatively infinitesimal amount of information regarding the term “agreeance” and its usage.

This is attributed to the reason that this word, albeit existent, is hardly ever used in modern-day English.

Just like words such as quacksalver and beldam, which respectively mean “fake doctor” and “witch”, “agreeance” has also taken lexical banishment.

In linguistics, the process of diachronic marking, the analysis of word usage over time, is responsible for temporally labeling word categories either as archaic or obsolete.

Archaic and obsolete words are meanwhile rarely used in modern times and are only applicable in particular contexts to achieve a specialized discursive style or flavor.

Let’s analyze “agreeance” a little deeper by looking at its meaning, etymology, and morphology together with examples.

 

Meaning and Usage

According to the book Vocabulary Power For Business published in 2018, “agreeance” means being in a state of agreement.

Moreover, it is a non-countable abstract noun that can be used to refer to the state or concept of agreement rather than the act of agreeing.

It is also the nonstandard form of “agreement” which is usually collocated with the prepositions “in” and “with” forming the phrase in agreeance with.

The employer and the employee are in agreeance with each other.

The usage of “agreeance” above may be considered passable since the context leans more toward the legal use of language.

However, it may cause discomfort to some audiences when the intent is less formal than historical novels or legal texts.

Almost two decades ago, Fred Durst, frontman of Limp Bizkit, used this word in his short speech at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards.

“Before I say the rest, I just really hope we are in agreeance that this war should go away as soon as possible.”

His usage of the word “agreeance” caught the attention of grammar pedants and resulted in some criticizing comments.

Obviously enough, the negative reaction could have been avoided if he was able to use “agreement” instead.

This kind of incident implies that outdated words, yet used out of context, may cause discomfort among readers or hearers, particularly when coming from a native language user.

As “agreeance” is tagged as obsolete, using it in modern times would evoke a likely perception of illegitimacy, no matter who is asked.

 

Etymology

“Agreeance” comes from the Old French term agréance which was first notably used in the 16th century.

This word was derived from the verb agréer which means “to accept.”

Old French was the language used in Northern France from the eighth century up until the 1400s.

Since the mid-1800s, the word “agreeance” has fallen into obsolescence most likely because “agreement” has become more conveniently used by the masses.

Although “agreeance” is generally considered inaccurate by the public, the attempt to use this term in French-influenced regions and countries may be more acceptable.

Thus, the type of audience and context should be contemplated before using this word so as not to induce unintentional obscurity and misconception.

 

Morphology

“Agreeance” is the result of the morphological process called affixation which is the attachment of bound morphemes to free morphemes.

In particular, it is derivationally formed by the suffixation of the bound morpheme -ance to the free morpheme agree.

Noun derivation patterns suggest that verbs ending in -ure, -ear, or -ate are added with the suffix -ance.

A few common examples of these words are endurance, appearance, and relevance.

Whereas, words ending in -ere, -ent, or -ete per se are added with the suffix -ence in deriving the noun forms.

Reverence, absence, and competence are words taking these derivational patterns.

Adding the suffix -ance to agree may seem morphologically odd or misshapen, thereby denoting a malaise atmosphere to some hearers and readers.

Hence, to note again, caution is advised when attempting to use this word in modern times.

 

Can it be conveniently used instead of “agreement”?

For those people who are unaware of the history of “agreeance,” many would find the usage of this term either a form of literacy gap or a quaint attempt to convey eloquence.

Discretion is advised when using this word it may create likely drawbacks, despite its rather easy denotation with and without background context.

It should be safe to assume that “agreeance” is not suitably taught nor introduced to non-native English users and early childhood learners wherein chances of ambiguation are high.

But, if the intended audience or listeners are either language experts or of French origin, then its usage would less likely raise any tension nor controversy.

 

Conclusion

The history of “agreeance” supports the notion of language arbitrariness and recyclability.

While the reaction towards or against its usage implies the increased amount of tacit knowledge among humans.

The active attempt to reusing this term would seem like talking about a person who passed away a long time ago.

It, in effect, makes relatives, either immediate or distant, able to show empathy and concern, yet driving strangers to feel apathetic and nonchalant.

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