The NYT Spelling Bee today contains the letters in condign, which I know from the Gilbert & Sullivan (well, Gilbert) lyric in The Mikado’s famous “short sharp shock” trio. Poo-Bah sings “With grief condign, I must decline” to be executed in Ko-Ko’s place.
It occurred to me, as the Bee was quite properly rejecting it, that I had no idea what it meant. That is, I always vaguely assumed Poo-Bah was indicating, in the most Poo-Bah way possible, that his grief was substantial, but I had never looked it up. Nor have I ever, to my recollection, ever heard or read the word in any other context.
So, in case anyone else is in the same boat, condign means, more or less, worthy or fitting. So Poo-Bah is not so much saying that his grief was intense, as that it was the amount of grief appropriate to the occasion.