17 February 2024

《人类简史》(Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 2014) 写到美国在 1860 年通过一场血腥的内战才让南方各州勉强接受了非洲奴隶也是应当享有自由权利的人类:

When, in 1860, a majority of American citizens concluded that African slaves are human beings and must therefore enjoy the right of liberty, it took a bloody civil war to make the southern states acquiesce.

acquiesce 这个单词的意思是默许、勉强同意。

其实,从词源上看,ac- 源自拉丁语 ad- 即英语 to 的意思,而 quiesce 则源自 quiescere 安静。那么,连在一起就是become quiet的意思,也就是静下来。所以,看起来有些被动的意味,所以可以表达被迫的勉强的静下来接受他人的要求的意思。

法语的 acquiescer 也是这个意思。比如 il acquiesça d’un signe de tête 他点头答应了。

但是,因为英语 -er 后缀是行动者的意思,所以英语里 acquiescer 是默许者,就是那种不表示反对或抗议,而默认接受他人意见或决定的人。

acquiesce 的名词化单词为 acquiescence,譬如说:An alternative characterization of acquiescence might well be considered “public spiritedness,” as attempted by Zuckerberg in his recent Congressional apology – or perhaps better PR. (from Life v. Liberty Goes to Court: Social-Media ’Anti-Vaxx-Misinformation’ Case).

acquiescent 则是 acquiesce 的形容词,比如:But insiders believe Hudson does not want to be seen as too acquiescent to industrial action.


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 2014. Harper Perennial.