You might even call it ruptive

The dis- prefix, says, is “a Latin prefix meaning ‘apart,’ ‘asunder,’ ‘away,’ ‘utterly,’ or having a privative, negative, or reversing force.” This is almost, but not quite, the opposite of ad-, and most of the dis- words I know sound funny with dis- thus replaced. In some cases, it’s more sensible to remove dis- entirely, as in the case of “disestablish.”

But can you be combobulated? (Or “accombobulated”?) Apparently combobulation is something you have to lose before you can gain:

Taking off your shoes and pulling out your laptop at airport security may leave you feeling discombobulated.

The Mitchell International Airport staff has set up some chairs and a sign just past one of the security checkpoints to help you out. They’ve labeled it the “recombobulation area.”

I can deal with that.

(Plucked from a listserv; the sender was Bryan Doe, who actually reads this stuff now and then.)


  1. McGehee »

    24 July 2014 · 10:38 am

    Last time I checked I still had all my combobules.

  2. fillyjonk »

    25 July 2014 · 10:09 am

    As a general rule I dislike neologisms. But this one works.

    And I think more locations need “recombobulation areas” – doctors’ and dentists’ offices, the DMV, possibly even grocery stores on a Friday afternoon. Somewhere quiet and calm where people who are rattled, for whatever reason, can go.

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