It is not Alex Haley’s famous book on ancestral roots nor is it about the nutritional value of tubers. ‘Etymology‘ is something more interesting and more useful than all these; it’s the fascinating study of’ roots of words’.
Words are vehicles of expression, the womb of poesy and window for higher thought.Mastery of words makes you a master of communication, An easy way to build the vocabulary is to learn the root words and master the technique of their combination possibilities, with other roots and their formation patterns. Knowing just 2 root words can sometimes put you in command of as many as 50 words!
Greek and Latin have contributed a maximum root words to English than any other foreign language.Most of the scientific,technical and medical terminology is derived from Greek and Latin roots.Many common words we use everyday have interesting background behind their origin.
I propose to present a few interesting root words and take you into a voyage into the enchanting world of etymology.
Here are a few for now.
*What would you call a beginner as ? Well,a beginner begins any subject with the a,b,c.. of it .So he is an ‘abecedarian’ derived form the first letters of the alphabets!
*The word ‘alphabet’ is derived form the first two letters of Greek alphabet i.e.,’alpha’ and ‘beta’.
*It may well be an accident, if one knows the meaning of ‘accidence’ which means the rudiments or essentials of a subject.
*’Terminus’ is such a familiar word but it actually is derived form the Latin word denoting ‘the end’.
*’Incubus’ is the demon fabled to make sleeping females pregnant.The word ‘incubator’ is derived form it.
The broken roots will be
1)Pneumato-means ‘air, breath, spirit’. Perhaps the first word that will strike anyone is pneumatic tyre.
But behold , pneumatology is the study of spiritual beings and ghosts!
The ‘pneumono’ in this longest word means ‘lung’ in Greek.
Ultra in Latin means ‘beyond’.The extremist point of view is’ultraism’.’ultraconservative’ is extremely conservative.
‘ultra vires’ which is commonly used means ‘beyond the legal competence, authority ‘.
‘Microscopic ‘needs no explanation.
‘Silico’ is ‘sand’
*’moped’ the common power driven two wheeler is actually an abbreviated form of ‘motor’ assisted’ ped’al cycle!
*’philo’ is another learned borrowing from Greek which means ‘love’.’philosopher’ is one who loves wisdom(‘sophi’ in Greek is ‘wisdom’).
Now try guessing what’ phylogyny ‘means (‘gyno’ is woman ‘) .
Not all words break to indicate correct meaning.example, ‘philander’ breaks into’ philo’ and’andros’ .’andros’ means’ man’.Thus ‘philander’ should mean ‘one who loves man’but it actually means a loving man,’a loafer after girls’ .But this is an exception.
*While ‘andros’ means ‘man’, ‘gyno’ is ‘woman’.A woman-hater is ‘misogynist’.
These are a few words for now.Every word has an interesting ‘root’.If you want to improve your vocabulary, learn a root word every day.For regular articles on Etymology, you may visit my blog.