A Brief Treatise Upon
Within this, I intend to cover aspects of the words respect and tact. With focus upon the etymology of
the word and the evolution into additional words. A study into the ideology of respect, with emphasis
upon value will be discussed in an informative manner along with a glimpse into the sub tones of Robert
Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken” dealing with decision making, critical analysis and hindsight.
Through this I intend to demonstrate the nature of the word and hopefully shed light into the historical
value of the concept.
Etymology, the study of words, and the affect they have upon culture and the evolution of the
word itself. Perhaps no word has quite the profound nature and power of the word respect. Respect is
a word that came to the English language in the late 14th century, with an Old French form of ‘respect’.
The noun respect is derived from the Latin respectus, literally ‘the act of looking back at one’. Respectus
is formed from the Latin prefix re “back” and the root verb specere “to look at” which would later also
form the English word ‘scope’. Arising from this is also the inverse of the concept disrespect, from the
same roots as respect the Latin prefix of dis “lack of, not” was added.
In the form of a noun respect is commonly defined as: “A feeling of esteem excited by actions of
attributes of someone or something; courteous of considerate treatment; a particular detail, or point
(Random House 2014)”. Respect also has a history as an English verb, which is ‘to regard’. This form
found its way into the English language in the 1540s from the Middle French respecter “to look back; to
respect; delay”. Respecter, as respect, is formed from a Latin word, in this case respicere the past
participle of respectus. Respicere is frequently considered to have the meaning of “to treat with
deferential regard to esteem”. In the 1600s the words respect also gained the additional definition of