Writing in response to Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz's deununciation of the Citi Bike bike-sharing program in New York City, New York Times "Big City" columnist Gina Bellafante referred to Rabinowitz's "crazy-lady assertions about cycling’s hold on New York" as "declaimed absurdities."
Declaim means to speak publicly, or or speak out passionately against. Its synonyms include inveigh and protest, and along with proclaim (announce), exclaim (cry or utter aloud), acclaim (praise vociferously), and disclaim (to deny), it's a proud member of the family of words that claim claim in the sense of "profess" as a root. (Claim can also mean "to express a right to something," as when you claim a prize you won, stake a claim to a piece of land, or reclaim what once was yours.)
It makes sense that claim has so many offspring — it's been around a long time. It came into English around 1300 from the French clamer "to call or name," which in turn descended from the Latin clamare "to cry out, shout, proclaim," and likely existed before that in a Proto-Indo-European language form as the root kele-, meaning "to shout." Kele- shows up in cognate form through references to roosters crowing and dawn breaking in languages all over the map. Etymonline.com provides this catalog:
Sanskrit usakala "cock," literally "dawn-calling;" Latin calare "to announce solemnly, call out;" Middle Irish cailech "cock;" Greek kalein "to call," kelados "noise," kledon "report, fame;" Old High German halan "to call;" Old English hlowan "to low, make a noise like a cow;" Lithuanian kalba "language").
Thinking about the ancient roots of this well-pedigreed verb puts the bike-sharing controversy into perspective, doesn't it?
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