Words and Flowers ~~ for Etymologists and Gardeners


This particular hub is dedicated to one of our HP writers, Kathleen Cochran, who this morning over breakfast suggested that I write a hub on words and their etymologies. I told her I had a hub on that very topic, which had been sitting unfinished for two months. She commented that clearly great minds think alike. :) So I came home and finished the hub.

Beyond that, Kathleen introduced me to HubPages and kindly and repeatedly badgered, I mean encouraged, me to join and give it a try. I obviously started writing about what I know best, Modern European History, World War II in particular. Soon I was hooked on writing, on reading, on the wonderful ongoing conversations and friendships that develop here. And no one was more surprised than I when I began to write outside my comfort zone.

Now my comfort zone has been enlarged as has my circle of friends who write exceedingly well. For me, it all began with Kathleen sharing her excitement and joy. Please keep reading and ENJOY! :)


Cautelous is interesting to me, because when I first came across it, I immediately thought of the word “cauterize” meaning to sear or burn a wound with a heated tool – this procedure is done to eliminate bacteria and promote healing. The word can also mean to render one insensible . I rather self-indulgently congratulated myself on my linguistic prowess, but a nagging suspicion in the back of my mind compelled me to look it up anyway and come to find out it is not related to “cauterize” at all!


The first time we find the word in literature is in 1384 and this archaic word comes to us from Latin by way of the Medieval French word “caudeleux. Today we use cautelous, which is an adjective, when we want to describe someone, or perhaps even an animal, as crafty, cunning, cautious or wary.


This word was too compelling to pass up because I assumed, correctly this time, that it was related to one of my favorite words “ramification.” Ramify, which is a verb, comes from the Latin and means branch. My last name which is German, although my patrilineal family is Polish, means the limb or branch of a tree.


Imagine my astonishment when examining World War II army document at the National Archives when I chanced across the word “aeste” (plural of ast). A German official was describing where certain branches - “aeste” - of the SS (Schutzstaffel) were located. But to return to Ramify which means to divide into branches and going very far back to the Indo-European root “wrad” we also find radish, root, radical, eradicate, and rutabaga.




Gnathic, is not a word one is likely to use very often, but it comes with an interesting history and evolution, never-the-less. It an adjective which refers to something derived from or relating to the jaw. Scholars believe the original Indo-European root was “genu” which could mean either jawbone or chin, hence the word “prognathous” or chin. It comes to us most directly from the Greek “gnathos” for jaw. The first documented usage appears to be 1882.


I imagine that manyof us will quickly recognize this word in its adjectival form Aurorean, because we are already familiar with the term “aurora borealis,” commonly referred to as the Northern Lights. For those of you well-acquainted with Latin mythology, you will recognize “aurora” meaning sunrise, dawn or even the goddess of dawn. Specifically, Aurorean, refers to something related to or belonging to the dawn.


The Borealis is created when charged electrons contained in the solar wind encounter atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the earth’s upper atmosphere; this could be anywhere from 20 to 200 miles above the surface of the earth. The shape and location of the borealis, whether northern or southern is determined by the lines of magnetic force associated with the north and south Poles.



Many of us will assume this word has something to do with four; we associate the first syllable with common words like quarter, quartile, etc. Quadrennium is a noun meaning a period of four years. The word is derived from the combination of the Medieval Latin roots “quadri” meaning four and “annus” meaning year. The original Indo-European root was “at” from which a whole variety of words commonly used in English are descended. For example, annuity, perennial, annals, annual.


And there is this prince of a word using the root “annus” – Superannuated, indicating something which is outmoded or old-fashioned, or a condition where advanced age has incapacitated a person for active duty, or someone older than the usual members of a specific group, say beginning swimmers. Synonyms for superannuated are varied and quite interesting: obsolete, Noachian – I wonder what Noah thinks, fossilized, medieval, Neolithic, antiquated, and moth-eaten. Speaking of Noah, we can’t ignore that most wonderful of words - antediluvian – “before the flood.”

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The word Morphean, an adjective, refers to something that is sleep inducing or that is related to drowsiness. The root of the word, “morph” is Greek. Those who study Greek mythology will immediately recognize the god of dreams Morpheus, who was the son of Hypnos, the god of sleep. He was responsible for introducing human beings into the subconscious of people who were dreaming; Morpheus was literally, “the Maker of shaoes” which helps explain how all these words are related.


We also have the linguistically related word, Morphine, which is a bitter addictive narcotic, the principal alkaloid in opium (think poppies); there is a serious danger of addiction with long term medical use. Morphine is often administered when patients need either an analgesic or a sedative to alleviate pain and/or profound emotional distress. Morphine has a decided calming effect which helps protect the individual who has just suffered a major physical injury or trauma of some sort. Morphine can be administered orally, by injection or by IV intravenous drip.


Large doses of morphine are known to depress respiration (minimize the normal breathing response) , therefore there use in terminal cases is controversial. They do indeed make the terminal patient, who might otherwise be suffering quite terribly, comfortable and peaceful, but by depressing respiration, the use of morphine hastens death. This is an issue that needs to be thoroughly discussed between the patient (if possible), the family members, and the medical staff.

Source


Found in French and German in the early 1800’s (from Latin), Morphology is (1) the branch of Biology that investigates the structure and form of plants and animals, or (2) the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a specific language and is concerned with things like linguistic derivation, context, intonation / inflection, and word compounding, in other words morphology is concerned with the word-forming elements and processes within any language.


And then there is the word Metamorphoses which commonly refers to a change in physical structure, form, or substance. Frequently in literature, the word is used to draw attention to a striking alteration in character or appearance of an individual. However, in Biology, the word often refers to a fairly abrupt developmental change, for example, a change which affects the structure or physical form of an animal. These changes occur after the animal is born (or hatches); they do not occur in utero and may include biochemical, behavioral, and physiological changes. The word comes to us from Greek to Latin to German.


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Your Comments Are Always Welcome and Much Appreciated 50 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Bravo, Theresa, for writing this and bravo, Kathleen, for badgering. I'm all for new vocabulary and expanding our horizons. As writers we should be doing this without a nudge, but since many need that nudge, this is very helpful. Well done my friend.

bill


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Word study is fascinating. I was recently blown away when someone wrote a hub about the Narcissus flowers like daffodils. They were named after the Greek God Narcissus who was very vain and was always looking at this reflection in pools of water. These flowers always have their heads bowed downward. What a great Hub! I say awesome, interesting and shared.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks Bill. I do love words and language (in my house I am occasionally called the "Wortmeister" master of words; of course sometimes my sons call me irritating, but they know to do it respectfully, if they plan to have dinner with the rest of us. :)

I thought vocabulary was OK when I was in school, but I didn't fall in love with it until I started seeing and understanding all the linguistic connections and applications. Thanks for reading. :) Take care. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi rebecca - I love the story about the Narcissus flower, I can never say the word narcistic without picturing the young beautiful Narcissus gazing raptly at his own reflection, but then I love Greek mythology in general. Another of my favorites is the word tantalize from Tantalus who was condemned to never satisfy his hunger or thirst - he was eternally tantalized by fruit he could not pluck and water he could not reach. So glad you liked the hub and thanks for sharing. :)

Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Hey! You wrote the hub. But thanks. Just don't ever mention the thing at the place that time when we were 16. Well, you were 16, I was 17.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I was really bummed when this hub ended. What more is there to say.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - Yes, I came home and my son dropped off their Labrador so they could go to the Christian Couples retreat. As soon as I got the dog and cats settled, the creative impulse overtook me and I finally finished the hub. Then just for good measure, later in the day, I decided to recount my adventure with grilled cheese for breakfast. And yes, I will go to my grave with the secret from our wild and youthful days. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Eric - A perfect comment. :) Have no fear, I have a list of words I have been accumulating and I hope to do one of these hubs every three to four weeks. All I can say is patience is a virtue (of course, by that rubric, I am not particularly virtuous...oh well). :) Theresa


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

Your story of how you came to write what you feel is your main area if interest on HP, and how Kathleen introduced and encouraged you....well, perhaps gently persuaded is a better term lol, is very reminiscent of how I started on here through the advice of Brenda Barnes,aka, Hyphenbird.

This was a perfect hub to read as you mentioned my lexicons in your post to the soldiers story. Have to admit though, yours go deeper and and are quite the more interesting each and every one!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I like how you used these examples to promote use of a dictionary and thesaurus. I don't know what I would do without either of them.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Alastar -

So Hyphenbird got you started. :) I didn't even think specifically about the lexical connection, that the timing was indeed fortuitous. So glad you found them interesting. Probably my fascination with language and etymology comes from my parents. My mother was an English teacher who had taken 4 years of Latin. My father and grandparents spoke Polish and German. :) Hope you are having a great week. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi teaches - Oh, me, too, i have to have a deictionalry and a thesaurus close at hand, both for serious work andfor play. I hope you are doing well. :) Theresa


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada

phdast7 (Theresa if I may), Enjoyed this wordy journey, nicely done. And photos are lovely! Regards, snakeslane


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning snakeslane - What a welcome visit and you may certainly use Theresa. :) So glad you enjoyed this hub, I had a ball putting it together. Many many years ago my mother introduced me to the pleasures of connecting words and understanding their derivations and I have enjoyed playing in the fields of words ever since. I wasn't sure what to do for visual interest, but then I remembered that I had a book on minerals and gems (got my first children's book on ROCKS at the age of eight and literally wore it out from looking through it - geology is so fascinating). I have been hooked ever since. Hope you are having a great week. :) Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello again. This is early for me (I teach late afternoon/early evening) and apparently at this hour I can't remember which illustrations I put in which hubs. :) KInd of pathetic, I know. But I am very glad you enjoyed the flower and garden pictures. :) Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Morning Theresa! Not sleeping again?


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada

Theresa, I will have to find those rock pictures :). Shift work is hard, I did it for years.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

snakeslane - I found the hub I was thinking of, a poem, Consuming Time and Space. I wrote both hubs the same day, which I never have time to do, so I got confused about which pictures were where. :) Take care. Theresa


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Most informative and so beautiful flowers, but then again flowers are beautiful the colors are just so breathtaking.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you, DDE. Flowers are incredibly beautiful aren't they? I have never been able to grow them, but I love to look at them. Just looked up Dubrovnik. What an interesting, beautiful and historical city and sitting on the adriatic. When I was tn we went to Greece for thre years, where my father wa stationed at a local Air Force Base. We lived in Glyfada and swam in the Ageann. A wonderful part of my childhood. :)


molometer profile image

molometer 3 years ago

Hello Theresa,

Well this was a lovely trundle through some quite fascinating words.

I had to put my hands under my Oxters (armpits) before typing this epistle. Just to warm them up. :) Then I pulled out a quire of paper to jot down some notes.

I had better get off, before my zoanthropy gets the better of me; as it did for poor Gregor Samsa.

Great read and love the flower photos.

Michael


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

I guess we all love words! I love word play and you just introduced me to a whole batch of new words! Loved this Theresa!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Ao glad you enjoyed it Audrey. Word play is wondeful --- intellectual activity, lots of fun, no calories, and free! :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael - You are clearly inimitable and never at all prosaic. Only you would respond with wonderful and abstruse words of your own. Trundle -- I love it. :) Oxters and quire are quile lovely, but I was not familiar with them -- all the better! And now I am going to have to go look up zoanthropy (although I have some ideas) and Gregor Samsa.

People who ignore or disdain word-play simply do not know what they are missing. What a wonderful "wort screiber und denker" you are! (My German is very rusty so I hope I wrote what I think I did. :) Glad you enjoyed the flowers. Me, too. :)

Theresa


web923 profile image

web923 3 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

I love to peruse the dictionary as a pass-time! This was fun and interesting to read! Thanks for sharing it~


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Interesting and fun to read, just as expected. Love learning and playing with words. Thanks for a neat read!


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

A dictionary has also been my fave book too since I was a kid. Our old Webster's tome is already worn out. I was the only one who read the big book every day. Up to now. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi web 923 - Nice to meet you. I just knew there were other people out there like me. :) Thanks for your comments. I hope you are having a great day. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good afternoon, RT. I am so glad that other people love [playing with words. Our family has had such pleasure with language for many many years. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope all is well with you. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello vibesites - I like what you said about your family Webster's. A worn out dictionary is a good indication of a family or individual's love of words and language. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I just reread this hub and two thoughts sprang up:

I wonder how many of us hubbers found HP through a friend?

Why not make this hub and continuing series? This process is part of your profession and passions, and there is no end to the possibilities? You could become HP's own Readers' Digest style guru of words!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - I wonder how many too. Actually, this is my third "words and Etymology hub" But HP pulled one of them and claimed duplicate content, because I used stuff I wrote in a comment on one of my other hubs. I got tired of fighting with them and just let it go.

But my current plan is to do 1 hub per month on etymology, film history, art quilts, family history/recipe, and World War II/Holocaust --- and as many poems as come to mind. That would be five to eight hubs per month and that is ambitious enough for me, because I will be teaching two days a week most of the summer. I guess the short answer is I like your idea. :) Theresa


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey

I love tracing the etymology of words when I have time. One feature I like about the online Oxford English Dictionary is all the information can be put on a timeline for you, including the first time it was used in print.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Flowers, Children and words ---- I like this hub!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Stephanie - I have used the OED online, but I had no idea it would do that. I will have to pay more attention. :)

Words, language, etymology -- I find them fun and fascinating. Thanks for commenting. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Eric. I enjoy language so much that it was great fun to do. Hope all is well. Theresa


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

Wow, I have never heard these words before, so it's really educational. They will add into my limited word tank hehehehe. And beautiful pictures too. Thanks for posting! Up and beautiful. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for commenting idig. Glad you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 23 months ago from TEXAS

I guess you published this one before I met you on arb's threads. I love it, Theresa and and so pleased that you led me to it now by mentioning it on FB. It's beautiful, informative and so YOU! :-) You get me on both subjects - etymology and flowers/gardening.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Nelieanna- I guess this was an early on Hub. Glad you discovered it. I knew we both loved words and flowers. It never seemed to get a lot of comments (and I thought it would be popular with a lot of people), hence the FB attempt. :) So glad you think it's beautiful, I so enjoyed putting it together. :) Theresa


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 23 months ago from TEXAS

It's always interesting and sometimes baffling to see what subjects appeal to folks. It does seem to depend on one's typical audience, but within it, there is variety! People are often transparent, except when they're not! haha.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York

Bless Kathleen for "inviting" you here. You add so much and this hub is written proof. What interesting words teamed with your interesting descriptions of their meanings. Writers love words and your introduction of words we may or may not be familiar with is an added bonus!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. BTW Nellieanna, love your comment.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Mary - How kind. I will tell Kathleen what you said; she will get a kick out of it. :) I try to be creative and write good hubs, but sometimes it seems like all I do is grade papers -- occupational hazard. Every job has one. :) So glad you enjoyed the words and etymology. I certainly do. Blessings!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 22 months ago from Maui and Arizona

Etymology! I love it. I'm so glad this hub was reposted. I'm sure I don't do as much digging for the origins of words that you do, but I do some -- thanks to a grade five teacher of my son many years ago. She would give her grade five students two hours of homework, four nights a week (Honolulu) on looking up the origins of words and six other things to do on each word. It was a terrible amount of homework. There is no way our son was going to stay awake to do that on his own so I helped him and tried to make it fun. I developed a real curiousity about words from the young teacher's assignments and our son became very poetically-inclined.

Interesting words you've chosen here. I learned a lot. I was thinking of a word just the other day I want to look up. Feckless. Not sure it's even a word, but at the time I was irritated with someone and up popped that word.

I love the English language.

Voting up, U,I,A, Sharing and Pinning.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 22 months ago from sunny Florida

As a self described Verbarian (although maybe not very successfully) I could not pass up this hub.

Now I have new wrinkles in my brain after reading...thank you for helping to make me smarter :D

Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 22 months ago from Maui and Arizona

P.S. Regarding my comment above, the someone I mentioned was a politician, someone I can't bear to listen to or to watch on a newscast. I just looked up the word feckless this afternoon -- the one I mentioned in my comment above -- and it wasn't very nice of me to think of it. I see there are various meanings to it. My intended meaning was 'spineless'. I won't be delving into the etymology of the word feckless as it's not a very pleasant word.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Pamela - I have been crazy busy at school. Sorry for not responding sooner. Thank you for such a thoughtful and great comment. Sounds like your son had an awfully demanding teacher...how interesting that that led you to get more interested in words and word histories and your son to become poetically inclined. Feckless - a good word, just not used so often today. Hope you and your family are well. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

No, you are right, feckless is certainly not a compliment and not a nice word, but I think sometimes it does fit sadly fit certain individuals. Like you though, I am occasionally surprised, by what a word that I have recently used really means. :) However, I have never thought of you as anything but a very nice person. And I still do. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 17 months ago from New York

Such an evergreen hub Theresa! Thank you Kathleen for getting Theresa to write here. She's taught me so much and now this!

Writers need words and as many as we THINK we know there's always more. This was enlightening.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 17 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you kindly, Mary, I guess it is evergreen, I just never thought of it that way. :) I keep meaning to do a few more linguistically based hubs -- I do so love words and their meanings and uses. You have encouraged me. :) Think I will pull out my WORDS folder. Hope all is well. Blessings. Theresa

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