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Word roots

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  • 27-03-2003 5:11pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭


    First thread posted on the English board! heh

    I love to decipher where words come from. I guess this goes for many other languages but English being my main language makes me intrigued about English.

    I know quite a bit about Greek and used to be good at Latin. These two languages seem to be the main roots of the English words we use every day. I could be wrong - maybe Saxon is a main root.

    Anyway the point of this thread is to give you answers to questions that you have about strange words that you would like to know where they originated from.

    Example - Xenophobe. Easy one really - Xenos means Stranger in Greek and Phobe means fear. Fear of strangers - hatred of foreigners is what it means nowadays.

    Do you have any words you want to know "How the hell did that word come about in the English language?"


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon


    Actually in reading sceptre's word - how the hell did "discombobulated" come about. Presumably the active root is - "combob"?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,564 ✭✭✭Typedef


    quasimodo

    quasi - almost
    modo - made

    subcutaneous

    sub - below
    cutaneous - of or relating to the skin


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,564 ✭✭✭Typedef


    emasculate - to caustrate
    masculate - to make strong ... or masculine

    e - anything can be indicitative of degrodation or diminution of the word part that comes after it

    though sometimes the e prefix can be an exponential

    enunicate - to issue edict or doctorine... to set in motion
    from nuncio

    nuncio - a papal ambassador, a messanger

    to nunciate - to act as a messanger.


  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon


    If cutanious is that then that goes for "cuticle". Therefore cut must be the active root of skin so what would -icle mean?

    For example part-icle.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,564 ✭✭✭Typedef


    I think icle implies some sort of single final state.

    ie cuticle implies dead skin

    particle implies a singular instance of a part

    You wouldn't have a quantum part, but, rather a quantum particle.
    Yes I'd say icle is a singular definite instance of something

    at a guess.


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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,438 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney


    Not an ice, but an icicle, from the old English gicel, possibly the template for other -icle words.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,438 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney


    Originally posted by Typedef
    enunicate - to issue edict or doctorine... to set in motion
    from nuncio

    nuncio - a papal ambassador, a messanger

    to nunciate - to act as a messanger.

    I noted with amusement while watching Amen that the French for a papal nuncio is nonce.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭Praetorian


    Some more words :)

    Postmortem - Post (after) Morte (death)

    Christmas - Christ Mass

    Extraterrestrial - Extra (More than / outside) Terra (Earth)...Thanks Retrogamer....... :p

    Procrastinate - pro ( forward) crstinus (of tomorrow)

    Subterranean - Sub (under) terra (earth)

    Exhume - ex Latin humus, (ground)

    Ambidextrous - Medieval Latin : Latin ambi-, on both sides; Latin dexter, right-handed (thank you dictionary) :)

    Bicycle - Bi (two), Cycle (Circle / Wheel)

    Biped - Bi (two), ped (leg)

    Hehe That was fun :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭Amz


    Divorce - from the latin meaning to rip a mans testicles out through his wallet (thank you robin williams)

    I'm sorry please dont ban me ill delete it when im sober!!! I promise


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭Praetorian


    Now where do they hide the ban button ;)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon


    Originally posted by Praetorian

    Exhume - ex Latin humus, (ground)
    What does the ex part mean? Out? If so that ties in with Greek where Exo is out - Exodos meaning exit for example.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭Praetorian


    Its from Latin exitus from past participle of ex re (to go out)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,967 ✭✭✭Dun


    Originally posted by Gordon
    I know quite a bit about Greek and used to be good at Latin. These two languages seem to be the main roots of the English words we use every day. I could be wrong - maybe Saxon is a main root.

    English is a Germanic language, and has the same roots as German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish, to name the more known ones.

    Old English (Anglo-Saxon) was brought to England in several periods of immigration in the 400s and 500s, replacing the Celtic languages that were spoken throughout England. Although there was some influence from Scandinavian languages, and some influence from Latin because of the Church, it was the Norman invasion of 1066 that brought about the biggest influence. This meant that the ruling class spoke French while the ordinary folk spoke English. A new blend of English was formed that culminated in Middle English by the end of the fourteenth century.

    Because of the social implications of French and Latin over English, a strange phenomenon exists in English where many words of Germanic origin are considered more 'earthy' and less elegant than an equivalent English word of Romance origin - earthy (Germanic) versus mundane (French), people (French) vs. folk (Germanic), fight (G) vs. argument (F). Though at the same time, Germanic words can often seem less pretentious and more down to earth than 'flowery' words of French origin - deep vs. profound, fast vs. rapid.

    So a majority of our 'everyday' words, especially words used in our grammar, prepositions, subjects etc. are of Germanic origin, but with a substantial amount of Romance origin words.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,967 ✭✭✭Dun


    Originally posted by Gordon
    Actually in reading sceptre's word - how the hell did "discombobulated" come about. Presumably the active root is - "combob"?

    According to Collins:

    discombobulate vb (tr) Informal, chiefly U.S. and Canadian. to throw into confusion [C20:* probably a whimsical alteration of DISCOMPOSE or DISCOMFIT]

    *First referenced in Twentieth Century.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 484 ✭✭ManWithThePlan


    Ego.

    Latin, meaning 'I' or 'Myself'.

    Hence when someone is full of themselves, they are said to have an Ego/be an Egotist/be Egotistical.


  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon


    That's very interesting dun_do_bheal (how do you say that?), thanks.

    Ego is also of Greek origin - the word literally (although said differently - Eggo, soft g) means 'me'. Actually in Latin isn't it 'Ergo'? I could be completely wrong though. In fact I think I am tbh.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,967 ✭✭✭Dun


    Dún do bhéal is pronounced (very approx.) 'doon daw veil', but the vowel sounds are quite short. It's only recently that I discovered I could have used "Dún Do Bhéal" when I registered instead of "dun_do_bheal" :rolleyes:


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,438 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney


    Originally posted by Gordon
    That's very interesting dun_do_bheal (how do you say that?), thanks.

    Ego is also of Greek origin - the word literally (although said differently - Eggo, soft g) means 'me'. Actually in Latin isn't it 'Ergo'? I could be completely wrong though. In fact I think I am tbh.

    'Ergo' means 'therefore', as in
    Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭Praetorian


    Justice - Jus (right / law)

    Gordon just in case you were wondering Dún do bhéal means Close your mouth!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,967 ✭✭✭Dun


    Originally posted by Praetorian
    Gordon just in case you were wondering Dún do bhéal means Close your mouth!

    Trust me to miss the obvious :D (obvious - from Latin obviam - 'in the way' - an archaic meaning of the word).


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