Etymology -- Wonderful Word Play

Fine Art - A Naturalist's Illustrations


A Scintillating Introduction

My mother took a couple of years of Latin when she was in high school. Yes, it was and is a “dead language,” but by studying Latin one learns about many of the roots, prefixes, and suffixes which have passed into the English language. She passed much of what she had learned on to her children.

Knowledge of Latin roots enables a person to deconstruct complicated words and to examine the constituent parts of a word in order to determine its meaning. I can tell, you are already getting terribly excited about this. Me, too. :)

In my family, we learned to recognize many individual word components. We played with them, mixed and matched them. So of course my siblings and I all became inveterate word and language lovers. We never “needed to look up words” in a dictionary; for us, the dictionary was meant for pleasure and games. We would quiz each other on three, four, and five syllable words; we would come across a "new root” and then see how many words we could create.


Mental Aerobics and Calisthenics

Let's take one example: “fort” a Latin root meaning strong -- from fort we get fortitude, fortress, forte, fortify, fortification. We thought then, and still think now, (as I am sure you will agree) that word-play and language were great entertainment as well as mentally invigorating, and its completely free! You can't get much better than that. :)

I am quite sure your family played the suffix game just like ours did. After a family dinner while clearing the table, someone would shout, (usually one of my brothers), “Quick, how many words can you think of that end in “tion?”

Or words that end in "able" - dependable, expendable, reliable, or "ism" - dynamism, euphemism, catechism, or "less" - friendless, purposeless, sleepless, or "ship" - worship, sportsmanship, statesmanship?

Of course we were all always ready to take on such an enjoyable, albeit challenging, task. I think I will do "tion." You can do it too, if you would like to; one of the wonderful qualities about word games is that any number of people can play at the exact same time. :)

So I am thinking, "nation, demotion, inaction, mention, repetition, friction, sensation, inflammation, irritation, trepidation, caution, obligation, provision, propulsion, promotion, petition, addition, subtraction, multiplication, interaction, interrogation, imposition, internalization initiation, implementation, donation, determination, detention, dentition, deterioration, attention, application, affliction, ammunition, apparition, aspiration, insinuation, competition, contemplation, contradiction, communication, correction, application, attention, attribution, assassination, accusation, association, abrogation, amputation, annihilation.

Can you just imagine how fun my family was? By the way, I bolded my favorite words, so you would is entirely possible that they might be your favorites too. Why, we could start a club or a Facebook Page about our special words. :)

And do you know about the unbelievably entertaining game where everyone rapidly thinks of (and writes down of course) as many words as they can that start with the same letter? Then, when time is up, you get to compare lists! Who would watch TV when you can have fun like this with it turned off? :) By the way, you know all those boxed word games that came out in the last fifteen years, well, the companies stole their game ideas from my family. Very sad. No, not Trivial Pursuit. We didn't invent that one, but we could have....


Parenthetical, Perspicacious, Pellucid

Well today, as luck or fortune or fate would have it, I was stuck in the "never-ending-meeting" and a rather boring administrator used three “p” words, and all in the same sentence! I know… alliteration...and in an academic meeting. Can you imagine such a wondrous thing? How could I possibly resist that invitation? More importantly, why would I want to?

Within minutes I started perseverating about words that begin with "p," so I surreptitiously started scribbling words down in my notebook and before long the meeting was over. :) Let's try it and see what happens. Here is my five minute stream-of-consciousness list. I will look at your list in just a few minutes.

Paranormal, paradox, parachute, paradise, parameter, perimeter, periwinkle, paradigmatic, periodical, premium, primary, premier, principled, predatory, prehensile, predicament, predilection, preference, proposal, precipice, perfunctory, performance, perpetuate, purloin, penitentiary, parental, pinnacle, puerile, pigeon, pigment, Pentateuch, periscope, pedantic, penultimate, pessimistic, philosophy, physicality, paleontology, prestidigitation, philanthropic, pharmaceutical, psychiatric, prevaricate, postulate, parsimonious, paternity, principality, patriarchal, perpendicular, perambulate, penumbra, predicate, pusillanimous, pontificate, perihelion, poignant, post-mortem, (using a hyphen is permissible) posterior, postscript, peripatetic, peristalsis, parallelism, polycarbonate, predicament, proportional, pericardium.

Whew, I bet that was the most excitement you have had in a long time. :) See what happens when you simply free-associate, no dictionary is necessary. So now that you understand my family background, it will make perfect sense to you that this Hub is dedicated to people and families who on principle love words and who passionately want to know where they came from, as well as what they mean. Enjoy. :)

Post Script - Sometimes you can continue playing one of these spectacular word games, even after the family dinner or barbecue or whatever is over. That is certainly fine, just don''t be parsimonious...share the pleasure with your friends and acquaintances. :)


Words Based on Latin Derivations

Nescient --- Although not a word used all that frequently in general conversation, this adjective means someone or something lacking knowledge or awareness. Etymology: The word is constructed from the Latin “ne” meaning not and “scire” meaning to know. Scire is believed to come from the Indo-European root “skei” meaning to cut or split apart. This Indo-European root is the basis for schism, ski, science, and conscience.

Somnolence --- Is a noun indicating a state of sleepiness or drowsiness. Etymology: The word is based on the Latin root “somnus” meaning sleep. Related Indo-European words are abundant and quite easy to recognize: insomnia, soporific (inducing sleep), somnambulist (one who walks in their sleep), “Sominex,” and hypnosis (to place someone in a light and suggestible state of sleep). This was an example of accidental and unintended "alliteration."

Recondite --- An adjective meaning to be concerned with a profound or esoteric or difficult subject. The word can also indicate that something is obscure or little known. Etymology: Recondite is built from the Latin verb “recondere” meaning to hide. Recondere is composed of the prefix “re” meaning back and “condere” meaning to put together. Things which are “hidden” are very little known or obscure and things which are profound, esoteric, and difficult are often little known by the general population and thus, considered obscure.


Cessation, Discontinuation, Termination

Plenary --- This adjective indicates that something is full, complete, or absolute. It is commonly used at conferences, conventions, and symposiums to describe a “meeting” where all members of an association or a designated group are in attendance. Etymology: The word is based upon the Latin “plenarius” meaning fully attended or complete, and in turn plenarius is constructed from “plenus” which, as we all know, simply means full.

Risible --- Risible is also an adjective, but one that has several different connotations depending on sentence structure. Risible can mean something which is laughable or ludicrous; it can be used to describe someone likely to laugh; surprisingly, it can even refer to something tangentially related to laughter. Etymology: Risible comes from the Latin risus, which is a past participle of the verb “ridere” which means to laugh. The following words are also derived from the same Latin root: ridicule, ridiculous, deride, derision, derisive.

Fugue --- A musical form (a noun) in which a theme is repeated, either by several voices or several instruments resulting in a very complex musical pattern. However, fugue can also refer to a pathological state of consciousness. In this pathological condition an individual, to external observers, appears to be aware of his or her actions, but upon returning to a normal state of consciousness the individual has no recollection of their actions. Etymology: Fugue comes from the Italian word “fuga” which means escape or flight. Italian of course is a Romance language, derived from Latin. Fuga comes from “fugere” a Latin verb meaning to flee. Fugere is also the source for the words fugitive, centrifugal, subterfuge, and refuge.

Note 1: Several dictionaries were consulted in order to fully explicate the etymological entries: Merriam-Websters, the Oxford English Dictionary (abridged), and the Cambridge Dictionary. However, the "fabulous" run-on streams of words are purely the production of the author's mind. No other entity or organization should be held responsible for them.

Note 2: Would you agree with me that the botanical drawings are simply exquisite? I will soon do a Hub on how to access and use Classroom Clipart. I find it easier to work with than wiki-pictures. You might want to consider them for your work.

Note 3: There is no note three...just messing with you. :)

Note 4: I should go on record here and categorically state that I will not be doing a hub on entomology or discussing insects in any way, shape, or form. This is not because of prejudice or fear, more like an "ickyness factor." For those of you who have started to frown in disapproval, let me go on the record again, and state that I never displayed an icky or fear reaction in front of my children. Any phobias they may have now as grown men, they developed without any assistance from me. You can stop frowning now. :) Thank you.


Thesaurus -- The Necessary Resource -- Better than Monopoly!

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Comments 59 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Nicely done! I love the photos and yes, botanical drawings are simply exquisite! I have never seen such detail on drawings such as this. Thanks for sharing.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 4 years ago

Just because you call it Scintillating doesn't make it so. I am not even sure what the pictures which usually would go with a discussion on biology have to do with Latin and discussions on language.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you teaches. I really enjoyed pulling this one together. :) So nice to hear that someone else loves botanical drawings. Have a wonderful day. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jagged - And just because I wrote it, doesn't mean you are compelled to read it. The hub was meant to be full of word play and a little humorous...but to each his own. As for the botanical illustrations...they have absolutely nothing to do with Latin or language. I included them because they give me pleasure, just as language does. I realize of course, that you weren't actually asking a question.

xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

The clipart was great, and you explained your use of it adequtely for this reader. Your writng was, as usual teriffic, and I did fine it humorous. I always find words and articles about them "scintillating." I did not grow up in a family that played word games like that, but wish I had. Voted up, and more!

shea duane profile image

shea duane 4 years ago from new jersey

So much fun! Great hub.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you xstatic. This was a bit of a stretch for me. Good to know that the writing writing can be both solid and humorous. I can't always seem to make that work. :) Words are scintillating aren't they. I made sure my three sons were surrounded by words, music,and art. And now through HP we have such a wealth of all three and it is "literally" at out fingertips! :)

I found your wife's website online...she does simply amazing and beautiful work and is now my aspiration model. I could not find her on HP for some reason. Would you mind sending me her Hub name again? Thanks! And have a great weekend.

xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Hi, she is redmadness on HP but has done only a couple of employment related Hubs so far. She got her first blue ribbon for one that is not on her website yet. I will pass along the compliment.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I found her finally, and for future reference it is redmadness17. :) What an interesting career she has had an to be doing what she does from home. Amazing. I look forward to her future hubs and yours. :0 Have a great weekend. :)

pmorries profile image

pmorries 4 years ago from Golden, CO

phdat7, You are the only writer that can make me laugh and give me a headache at the same time. :) Voted up.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Well thank you. :) I consider that a great compliment. You just made my day. :) Have a great weekend - it is sunny here - hope it is sunny there.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Glad you enjoyed it. :) I certainly had fun with it, so much so, that I may even do this again. Hope you have a great weekend. :)

Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

A word game I have played is to take a long word where everyone has to write down all the words they can find within that word in a set period of time.

Speaking of meetings, I think I will look up how many words that mean boring. lol

Great selection of clip art.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend. :)

Voted up across the board.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

What writer doesn't love words! Fabulous hub Theresa--beautifully written and interesting. We play a dictionary game called pluthark. Each person takes a turn finding a word they think no one will know. Each person, including the person who had found the word, writes down a plausible definition. The person who actually found the word writes the true definition--then each person guesses at the true definition to gain points---

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

What a fun hub on a fabulous topic. Words--imagine a world without them!

We would have a hard time knowing who is arrogant and self-absorbed if they couldn't use words to express their acrid thoughts, but more importantly we would miss out on interacting with those who are able to enjoy beauty for the sheer pleasure of it and good times with friends as well as interesting learning experiences.

Thanks much for including the botanical prints as I always enjoy seeing them no matter what the venue. I enjoyed reading about your background with words, as well as your list of words based on Latin derivations.

Neat stuff here! Looking forward to that hub on classroom clipart.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning, Audrey. Words are so wonderful, useful, meaningful, interesting and fun. I always feel sorry for people who are indifferent to or impervious to their many charms. Thank you for the lovely compliments - my original idea was simply a list of "great words" and somehow it morphed into something much better when I realized that the words could be part of a family story. Thank you for sharing, now I can add "pluthark" to our family list of word games. Have a great day. :)

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

What a terrible useful hub Theresa.

I studied latin as a child and still find it useful.

Loved this hub and will bookmark it for future reference.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Why, thank you RT. :) It actually started out quite seriously as a list of interesting words, but it morphed along the way and as I added the family story, it became funny, or so I thought. So glad that it struck others that way as well. I, too am baffled by people who take no pleasure in words and word -play and literature. I feel like they are missing so much. I love the botanical prints too, I was so happy when I found them. The classroom clipart hub is about halfway done. Thanks for your interset and great comments. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael - So glad you like it and find it useful. I wasn't sure what the response would be; wasn't sure how many people were out there equally smitten with words as I am. but apparently, joyfully, there are quit a few of you. :) Have a good evening. Theresa

rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

From a pupil to his teacher ( one of the favorites ) :

I am honored ma'am

Learned a lot from this hub!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

rahul - Your words are kind and generous...and speaking of words, I did have a lot of fun with this one. So many of my hubs are pretty serious so this was a change of pace for me. :) You are so active on HP, writing yourself, reading, commenting -- however, do you find time? Hope all is well. Theresa (Professor Ast) :)

ExoticHippieQueen 4 years ago

The botanicals are exquisite! As for the content, I have to say that I, too, am a lover of words. I keep a running list to inspire me, words heavy with meaning or simply words that sound funny, sad or provoke thought. Your mention that you were sure that all families play games with suffixes and word combinations, etc. made me wonder. I think that possibly your family was unique in that area, though I'm just venturing a guess. What a fun way to learn, though............

rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

I am well Theresa... I have managed my time... I sleep less! Since I was a child..I am habituated to less sleep... so that I could work and manage my time more efficiently :)

ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada


I was aware of your love of words and language and now I know why! You have redefined scintillating for me! I of course love the pictures, by the way!

Thomas new favorite word of the day is nescient.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Okay, several things had me laughing. The comment by that Jagged character had me howling but your response was classic, so congrats on that score.

Secondly, your family must have been a laugh a minute. :) I have to admit I played the same games and now I'm going to go hide somewhere.

Thirdly, I took four years of Latin and it may be a dead language but it was the most useful course I have taken. I have rarely had to use a dictionary in the past forty-five years and I have Mr. Jahner, my Latin teacher, to thank for that.

Great hub! Now I have to go find that Jagged character and dazzle him/her with my wit and charm.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Ah, so that is your secret. :) I got buy on four hours a night for the five years I was in graduate school (also raising three teenage boys at the same time). But as I approached fifty it became clear that I need 6-7 hours or pretty soon I couldn't think or talk straight. Not so good when you are standing in front of a class of students! :) Managing time efficiently is an important skill and you certainly have it. Have a great evening. Theresa

nybride710 profile image

nybride710 4 years ago from Minnesota

I have always loved words as well, to the point where I am told to make my writing less wordy. I would have thrived growing up in your family. What's kind of ironic is that I love double meaning words and puns, but my Asperger's teenager daughter doesn't understand when I am trying to make a joke.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

mybride710: Oh to be told my work was too wordy. I have just the opposite problem. If I can say it in a sentence, I'm not going to make a paragraph out of it.

phdast7: Too much fun. Sorry for the naysayer. There's one in every crowd.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I love the botanicals, too and was so pleased when I found them and they were public domain. :-) I was actually trying to be amusing, when I said that I thought all families played with suffixes, etc. I think a few families may do that, but it's probably not the norm. It was a fun way to learn, and all four of us grew up loving language, loving to read, and loving to play with words. It has been nice to find some people on how pages are like words the way I do. Thanks for the comments and I hope you have a good evening. :-)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Thomas -

With my family background, I think it was pretty inevitable that I would become a word freak. And of course majoring in history and minoring in English only increase my focus on words and language.

Thanks for the comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the essay and the pictures. By the way, I highly approve of your choice of favorite word, nescient was a good choice. :-) Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Bill - Thank you for your kind compliment and I am just so glad you were laughing...I meant for this to be funny, well, amusing at least, but I wasn't sure if I had pulled it off. Yeah, the Jagged person irritated me quite a bit, so I enjoyed responding to him in a "classic" fashion. :) y family was fun and I knew there must be some other "word" people out there.

My mother convinced me of the very same thing, that Latin was extremely useful. They had quit offering it in high schools when I went so she supplemented my education. Same here, I hardly ever had to look up a word.

Please do dazzle the Jagged character, although he (not sure why I think it is a he) is certainly a hard sell. I appreciate all your comments. :) Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning nybride. Nice to meet you. I probably err on the wordy side. I just write and write and write, then walk away for 2 -24 hours and then I can see what to slash and tighten up. I have had a number of Asberger's students in my history classes. They are often brilliant with almost photographic memories. But as you point out they frequently miss nuances. They take everything at face value.

For example they often cannot distinguish between a good historian and a poor one - they don't pick up any bias or slanted approach. I typically use a lot of humor even sarcasm in the classroom which of course doesn't come across to an Asberger's student.

Once I said to my students, "I am so tired of late assignments, the next time you slide one under my door late, I will pick it up and throw it out the window!"

Ten minutes later, in the middle of the lecture, John blurted out (no hand raised of course) "Are you really going to throw my paper out the window?" I reassured him and explained it was supposed to be a cautionary joke. Aside from taking me literally he missed the fact that the building technically has no traditional windows, there panes of glass, but they do not open. I try to watch what I say, but I still mess up from time to time. Take care.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Fun, yes! That was the point, well, and a review of some cool words. :) You are right, there will always be a naysayer or two. But actually, I rather enjoyed crafting my response to him. I had no desire to be hysterical or a wounded crybabay, but I did want to make a point or two. :)

That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

I love botannical drawings. It was hard to draw my eyes away and read your post. :) I like language too. I never studied Latin but I'm interested in words in history, how they began and their original root word. All over this was a great post to read.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

They are just incredible aren't they? I was so pleased when I found a whole group of botanical illustrations that were public domain. (Before long I will do a Hub about how to access about ten thousand public domain pictures if anyone is interested.) I think the history and usage of words is fascinating. Thank you for the compliment. Glad you enjoyed the pictures and the words. :)

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

The illustrations are wonderful. I tried to share this with my friend, but he was overcome with somnolence and I was appalled at his insolence. He did not understand my indolence in the exercise. When I rebuked him, he responded with flatulence, and I admonished him to repentance.

Oops . . . that one doesn't fit. Your turn!

I took Latin at Kentucky Military Institute in high school. I killed the SAT test, and I had never even seen half of the words before.

Parvus slackus et longus via . . . a little slack goes a long way. I hope you cut me some.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning WD. I just knew there had to be some other word play, Latin and/or Greek afficionados out there. We shall have to form our own association. :) You were zipping right along there until you hit repentance, but you will get no remonstrance from me, I still think you deserve an A.

Same here. I killed the SAT and later the GRE, especially the Verbal, for the most part based on my knowledge of language roots. I now have a new favorite Latin phrase. Parvus slackus et longus via. Cool. :)

It just dawned me...this is the "via" in the phrase Via Delarosa (I may be spelling this wrong), the road/path/way of sorrow that Jesus walked. Language is amazing. Have a great day. Theresa

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Had to come back and have another read as something stuck with me.

I meant to say what a terribly useful hub not 'terrible' lol sorry Maam for the typo ha ha.

Voted up again lol have a great weekend Mrs T.

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

phdast7 - You are grading on a curve. You know in Latin that it is slakus (no ck). Plus, you let me slide with with the deviation of the derivation while I should have been able to come up with something to go with indolence.

Come on. You don't have to go easy on me. Otherwise, I am a slow learner.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

WD- Well I have occasionally been known to grade on a slight curve for "friends" never for students to their eternal dismay. :) And we certainly don't want any slow learners on HP. Heaven forbid. :)

And now I have caught your condition...every word I think of ends in -ance! Vigilance, significance, pittance, provenance, dalliance, all good words, but wrong suffix.

It took a minute, but I finally thought of some, but I don't think they are appropriate. Perhaps the last one will work. See what you think. Reticence, prevalence, intelligence, decadence, "diligence."

Have a great weekend! :)

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

I have to cheat. It sounds like nonsence.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Ahhh! Very good. Have a great weekend full on nonsensical words! :)

Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

As an ardent and frequent lover of words, it is no accident, this achievement of yours; as a language agent you are not ambivalent and so I compliment you on your rearrangement of words.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Phil - Very aptly accomplished. As I apprehend, the letter to admire and apply today is the active "Letter A." Accordingly, I appreciate your amusing, affirming, and affable comments and compliments. As of this afternoon, we clearly share an affinity for alphabet-play and word-play. Nice to acquire so amenable an acquaintance. What fun. :)

Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi :)

Loved the art.

Loved the subject.

Love your article!

To me, a dictionary is not a dictionary, unless it includes etymology. I love the Etymological Dictionary Online ~ one of my favourite sites.

We didn't play your family word games, at home, but my Mum and I still get a lot of pleasure from making words from the letters within another word ~ eg. Mississipi, or Constantinople. (You have set me off, now: staple, tint, tent, constant, colt, plot, ...)

Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 4 years ago from Southeast Michigan

Quite an enjoyable read.

In re your remarks on "fort," we also find it in the musical term "Forte," or "loud," borrowed from Italian, which is a direct descendant of Latin.

There are also a lot of English words with Greek roots, including one you mentioned as the hub was winding up: "phobia." The god Ares hitched up two horses to his chariot--Phobos, or Fear, and Deimos, or Panic. These are also the names of the planet Mars' (the Roman version of Ares) moons.

Finally, a lot of folks look at all of the Latin-derived words in the English language and conclude that English is descended from Latin. It's not. English is a West Germanic language, like Dutch and German.

Most of our latinate words in general use come from French, via William the Conqueror and all his Norman knights. The more specialized latinate words were borrowed directly from Latin at some point afterward (possibly in an attempt to make doctors, lawyers, and other professionals seem more intimidating to the uneducated--my pet conspiracy theory).

Thanks for a fun read! Voted up, funny, and interesting.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Trish- Well now we have to be best friends. After all you "loved the art, subject, and article!" I greatly appreciate your enthusiasm. :)

"To me, a dictionary is not a dictionary, unless it includes etymology." I could not agree with you more. My family has been known to sit in the living room with a good dictionary (that has all the eytmological information) and entertain ourselves for hours.

"Mum and I still get a lot of pleasure from making words from the letters within another word ~ eg. Mississippi, or Constantinople. (You have set me off, now: staple, tint, tent, constant, colt, plot, ...)"

I will introduce this one the very next time my family gets together for dinner. What a great "addiction" we have! :)

Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

My Mum loves dictionaries, too.

Yes, we can just sit and read them. :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Glad you liked it. I had fun with it and not too much of what I write lends itself to humor. I forgot all about "forte" and I used to sing in a choir. I love the Greek roots, especially when they are tied to Greek mythology.

Over the years I have been amazed at the people who seem unaware that English is a Germanic language which absorbed words from many languages, in particular Greek, and Latin as a result of the Norman Invasion.

I teach college level history and sometime during the first week of class I go over what you just covered. I also make sure the students know we will be "playing" with roots, prefixes, and suffixes for a few minutes in every course.

They do not see any reason to increase their vocabularies, but fortunately for them I am a benevolent dictator and play with words we will. :) Thanks for the comments and the votes. Have a great week.

BTW, I like your pet conspiracy theory. Nice. :)

Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

I am favoriting this one, PhDast! I work with a lot of technology writing, and if you want your spell checker to go crazy, start dealing with terms that seem to be made up every day!

Well done, voted up and awesome. Love the illustrations, too.

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

Wonderful article, Theresa. I took an English class in high school entitle, Language Study, in which we did just as you did above. We studied, Latin, Greek, German, and French roots and how they applied to the English Language. It was a great study for the ACT and SAT tests for college. I don't know why all high schools don't have a course such as this.

I taught this through my Spelling lessons when I taught 8th grade Language Arts. We had "word walls" and listed word after word that had common roots, prefixes, suffixes, etc. I always taught the meaning of the words as well as the spelling so I guess it all fell under vocabulary. I love the study of words and really enjoyed this insightful article. Voted up! and Shared!

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JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

From all the logophiles and sesquipedalians among us: thank you for a delightful read! Enjoyed the alliteration, the gorgeous botanical prints and (especially) the peek at your terrific family playing word games. So much better for the young mind than TV!

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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

So glad you liked this one Xenonlit. I started out just thinking about cool words and then somehow my family got mixed up in it and then I found the great botanical drawings and then it just happily fell into place. Thanks for your generous comments. Hope you have a great week. :)

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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jaye - You are all so very welcome. :) I emjoyed putting it together immensely, like playing a game with myself, only ay better than solitaire. :)

I have sent you two emails concerning the "collaborative essay." Haven't heard back from either one - getting concerned my emails are getting lost in cyberspace. Could you check and then email me your correct address and I will try again? Thank you, Theresa.

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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

suzette - Sorry it took me so long to respond. My summer classes have begun, so lectures and students come first. Sounds like you have along and happy life history involved with languages and words. How wonderful!

All high schools should have such a course. Can you imagine the difference it would make? BTW, I love the "word wall" you used in the 8th grade -what a great idea! So glad you really liked this hub. :)

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Theresa, and what an informative hub. Thanks for mentioning and explaining the fugue. I enjoyed the whole article.

Thanks again and enjoy your weekend


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello John - It was a fun hub to put together...I love learning and playing with words. So far it has been a great weekend. Had my sons and their families over this evening for a cookout. Hope all is well with you. :)


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA

Theresa(phdast7) - When the kids did not have kids of their own, they seemed to know but very few words - mostly like "Pop, I need ten bucks for ..." and words similar to those. :-)

Gus :-)))

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phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I hear you, Gus. So true, so true. In my house, it was my three boys who took turns saying. "I know I am supposed to vacuum / unload the dishwasher / fold the laundry this afternoon, but I really want to ________ .

I was in graduate school full time and we had to share the chores, but they had a million excuses. :) I laugh secretly now, when their own children avoid doing their chores. Payback aint fun at all. :)

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