I chose this word in honor of the recent referendums in Kurdistan and Catalonia. Secede came to English in 1702, not as a word describing countries breaking away, but on a more personal level, meaning something more like "leaving your friends". However, especially later that century, with the Austrian Secession and Revolutionary War, the word gained traction as meaning "leaving your country" on a whole. Before English, secede derives from Latin secedere, or "to separate". This is an affixation of se- (from the general Proto-Indo-European modifier sed), a prefix meaning "apart" and cedere, the root and verb, which meant "to go" and, through Proto-Italic kezdo, comes from Proto-Indo-European ked, "to go away". Usage of secede seems to be decreasing these days, and of course the highest spike in mentions was in the 1860s (history made its impact).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.