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Word Roots from A-Z:
Transcript of Word Roots from A-Z:
"Veni Vidi Vici"
Julius Caesar once declared in Latin, "I came, I saw, I conquered."
Today, few of us can read Latin, but it is important to understand that the roots of many of the words we use today have humble beginnings in Latin and Greek.
- "to come," the root of words like con
e, which means to come together.
- "to see," like the word
- "to conquer," as in the words
Whether you know it or not you are already speaking some Greek and Latin, and you are well on your way to understanding the root of many more words. So be proud. The next time someone says, "It's all Greek (or Latin) to me," just say, "Hand it here," because you just might be able to decipher what a word means based on its root.
- means people. Democracy, democrat and demographic.
- means skin. Dermatology, epidermis.
- means equal. Equity, equilateral and equidistant.
- means out or away. Exit, extract and explosion.
- means outside. Extraordinary, extraterrestrial.
- means to make, or do. Manufacture, factory, benefactor.
- means threadlike. Filament.
- means brother. Fraternize, fraternal.
Hmm...Why no "K" roots?
Hem, Hemo, Hema
- means blood. Hemophilia, hematology, hemoglobin.
- means water. Dehydrate, hydraulics, hydroelectric, hydroplane.
- means sleep. Hypnosis, hypnotic.
In and im
- means not. Impossible and innocent.
- means within or into. Intrapersonal, intramural and intravenous.
- means to throw. Reject, eject and inject.
- means to judge. Judicial, judge.
Word Roots from A-Z:
Finding the meaning of words
- means to move or do. Action, activity and transaction.
- means war. Bellicose, belligerent.
- means move or walk. Amble, ambulant, ambulate.
- means self or same. Autocrat, automatic.
- means heart. Cardiovascular, cardiology.
- means go. Exceed, recede, accessible.
- means against or opposite.
counterpoint and counterargument.
leg and lect
mean to read. Legible, lectern, lecturer, election.
- means letter. Literature, illiterate, literal.
- means place. Local, location.
- means word. Monologue, epilogue.
- means light. Lucid, elucidate.
- means bad. Malignant, malfunction and malice.
- means big or great. Magnificent, magnify.
- means many. Multiple, multifaceted and multilingual.
Latin, and Pseudo-Latin, were used for many of the spells in J.K. Rowling's
The phrase above roughly translates into, to make something
No "K" roots...
The letter "K" was used very infrequently in Latin, hence the fact there are little to no words that start in "K" in Latin. More often than not, the sound of "K" was substituted by letters like "C" or "G." That is why in English we spell words like
(from the Latin
) with a "C" instead of a "K."
- means new. Novice.
- means all. Omnipotent, omnipresent and omnivore.
- means feeling or suffering. Pathetic and Apathy.
- means foot. Pedal, pedometer, centipede, gastropod.
- means many. Polygamous, polychrome and polytheist.
Quer and quis
- means to question. Query, inquisition.
- means far. Telephone.
- means heat. Thermometer.
- means write. Manuscript, postscript.
- means cut. Intersect, dissect and section.
- means half. Semicircle and semifinalist.
- means not. Unfinished, uncooked and unreadable.
- means see. Envision, evident.
- means life. Vitamin, vitality.
- means animal. Zoology, Zoologist.
Now you're armed with everything you need to be a great etymologist and get to the meaning of words by understanding their roots.
A lot of today's English words have Greek roots, as well. Some common Greek roots include:
– referring to the self
– anything pertaining to a book
– life or living things in general
– order or world
– any type of government entity
- pertaining people
- referring to the skin
– race or nation
– pertaining to the stomach
– pertaining to the earth
– pertaining to water
– pertaining to sleep
– equal, alike or identical
– referring to stone
– word or study
– pertaining to madness
– large or powerful
– pertaining to one
– pertaining to the nerve
– law or science
– pertaining to all or every
– fear or dread of something
– referring to sound or speaking
– pertaining to the soul or the mind
– to spy, watch or see
–causing to stand
– referring to something far off
– pertaining to curing
– pertaining to heat
– a position or opinion
– pertaining to animals
"Give me any word and I show you the Greek root." - My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Making educated guesses:
For example, you may not know what the Swedish word
means. But given the sentence, "The hungry travelers eyed many dishes of food covering the
table," you might guess that
is a kind of buffet-style meal.
Likewise, you may not know what the Japanese word
means. But given the sentence, "The women walked through the cherry tree-lined streets Kyoto in a beautiful
," you might guess that a
is a type of traditional dress worn by Japanese women.
Since the English language has borrowed from virtually every language, you will likely encounter words that you won't be able to decipher using the previously mentioned Greek and Latin roots. In which case, it is good to look at the context the word appears in, and make an educated guess.