Comport and Cheer

Comport: to behave, or conduct oneself well.

From Latin comportare (to collect, to amass, to bring together).  In this sense, perhaps comport carries the meaning of pulling oneself together for the occasion.

The verb comportare breaks down to the preposition cum (with) and the verb portare (to carry). 

Before an upcoming, and important event, you might enroll yourself in an etiquette course.  You might do this to ensure you comport yourself properly.

We might also use the word with the preposition, with.  For example, “His tattered football jersey did not comport with the formal attire of the other guests.”

In the Webster’s famous 1828 dictionary, he gives several examples:

  • “His behavior does not comport with his station.”
  • “It is curious to observe how lord Somers–comported himself on that occasion.”
  • “I knew them well, and marked their rude comport.”

Webster also notes that, “comport is rarely or never used, but may be admissible in poetry. We now use deportment.”

It’s January now.  The holidays are over.  Next year, though, instead of physical gifts, I may give certificates to etiquette classes, as a few of my friends and relations could use some comport to go with their tidings of cheer.