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Word Root Of The Day Archive

#88 Jun 22, 12

onym

name

The Greek root word onym means “name.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including synonym and antonym. The root onym is easily recalled through the word anonymous, which refers to someone going around without a “name.”

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#87 May 30, 12

ad-

to, towards

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The English prefix ad- means “to, towards.” Examples using this prefix include admit and adjust. An easy way to remember that the prefix ad- means “towards” is through the word advertise, for when you advertise you try to turn potential buyers “towards” the product you are selling.

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#86 May 23, 12

nom

name

The Latin root word nom means “name.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including nominee and denominator. The root nom is easily recalled through the word nominate, which refers to someone being “named” to run for office.

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#85 May 16, 12

ver

truth

The Latin root word ver means “truth” or “true.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including verdict and veracity. The root ver is easily recalled through the word very, for when something is very good, it’s “truly” good.

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#84 May 04, 12

a-

not, without

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The Greek prefix a- and its variant an- mean “not.” An easy way to remember that the prefix a- means “not” is through the word apolitical, which describes a person who is “not” inclined to favor politics. Someone who is anonymous is going around “not” having a name.

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#83 Apr 25, 12

son

sound

The Latin root word son means “sound.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including sonar and sonata. The root son is easily recalled through the word sonic, for a sonic boom makes a deafening “sound.”

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#82 Apr 19, 12

lev

light

The Latin root word lev means “light in weight.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including elevator and lever. The root lev is easily recalled through the word levitate: to make someone so “light” in weight that she can float above the ground.

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#81 Apr 11, 12

scrib

write

The Latin root word scrib and its variant script both mean “write.” These roots are the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including scribe, describe, postscript, and manuscript. The root scrib is easily recalled through the word scribe, whose job is “writing,” and script, a “written” document.

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#80 Apr 04, 12

hyper-

over, above

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix hyper- means “over.” Examples using this prefix include hyperventilate and hypersensitive. An easy way to remember that the prefix hyper- means “over” is through the word hyperactive, which describes a person who is “overly” active in some way.

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#79 Mar 29, 12

hypo-

under, below

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The Greek prefix hypo- is an important morpheme of the English language. Examples using this prefix include hypothermia and hypocritical. An easy way to remember that the prefix hypo- means “under” is through the adjective hypodermic, which refers to going “under” the skin, especially when being given a shot.

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#78 Mar 21, 12

ann

year

The Latin root word ann and its variant enn both mean “year.” These roots are the word origin of various English vocabulary words, including anniversary and centennial. The roots ann and enn are easily remembered through the words anniversary, which is the turning of another “year,” and millennium, a period of 1000 “years.”

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#77 Mar 15, 12

tri-

three

The English prefix tri-, derived from both Greek and Latin, means “three.” Some common English vocabulary words that contain this prefix include triathlon, trio, and triangle. You can easily remember that the prefix tri- means “three” via the word tricycle, which is a bicycle with “three” wheels instead of two that promotes stability for young riders.

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#76 Mar 12, 12

syn-

with

The English prefixes syn- along with its variant sym-, derived from Greek, mean “together.” You can remember syn- easily by thinking of synonym, which is a word that goes “together” with another word because it has a similar meaning. You can remember sym- by thinking of symphony, which is a group of instruments making sound “together.”

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#75 Mar 06, 12

man

hand

The Latin root word man means “hand.” This root word is the word origin of a number of English vocabulary words, including manuscript, manufacture, and manicure. An easy way to remember that man means “hand” is through the word manual, an adjective which describes a task done by “hand.”

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#74 Feb 29, 12

bi-

twice

The English prefixes bi-, derived from Latin, and its Greek variant di- both mean “two.” The Latin prefix is far more prevalent in common words, such as bilingual, biceps, and biped; the more technical Greek di- appears in such words as diphthong and dilemma. You can remember bi- easily by thinking of bicycle, which has “two” wheels, and di- by remembering that the “dioxide” of carbon dioxide means that there are “two” oxygen atoms in the molecule CO2.

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#73 Feb 28, 12

phon

voice, sound

The Greek root word phon means “sound.” This word root is the word origin of a number of English vocabulary words, including microphone, phone, and saxophone. An easy way to remember that phon means “sound” is through the word symphony, which is many instruments making a “sound” together.

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#72 Feb 21, 12

anti-

opposite

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The origin of the prefix anti- and its variant ant- is an ancient Greek word which meant “against” or “opposite.” These prefixes appear in numerous English vocabulary words, such as antifreeze, antidote, antonym, and antacid. An easy way to remember that the prefix anti- means “opposite” or “against” is through the word antisocial, for an antisocial person is the “opposite” of being social, or is “against” being so in her everyday conduct.

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#71 Feb 16, 12

her

stick, cling

The Latin root word her and its variant hes both mean “stick.” These roots are the word origin of various English vocabulary words, including adhere and adhesive. When glue adheres to paper, it “sticks” to it, for glue is an adhesive which causes things to “stick” together.

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#70 Feb 09, 12

micro-

small

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The origin of the prefix micro- is an ancient Greek word which meant “small.” This prefix appears in no “small” number of English vocabulary words; microphone, microwave, and micromanager are a few noteworthy examples. An easy way to remember that the prefix micro- means “small” is through the word microscope, an instrument which allows the viewer to see “small” living things.

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#69 Feb 06, 12

mega-

great, large

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The origin of the prefix mega- is an ancient Greek word which meant “large.” This prefix appears in a somewhat “large” number of “large” English vocabulary words, such as megaphone, megahit, and megabyte. An easy way to remember that the prefix mega- means “large” is through the word megastore, which is simply a store that is very “large” in floor area.

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#68 Feb 02, 12

poly-

many

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The origin of the prefix poly- is from an ancient Greek word which meant “many.” This prefix appears in, well, “many” English vocabulary words, such as polysyllabic, polyhedron, and Polynesia. An easy way to remember that the prefix poly- means “many” is through the word polygon, which is a geometric figure, such as a square or pentagon, that has “many” angles.

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#67 Jan 30, 12

path

feeling

The Greek root word path can mean either “feeling” or “disease.” This word root is the word origin of a number of English vocabulary words, including sympathy, apathy, pathological, and sociopath. An easy way to remember these different meanings is that a sympathetic person “feels” pain with another, whereas a psychopath does twisted things because he has a “diseased” mind.

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#66 Jan 26, 12

mono-

one, single

The prefix mono- and its variant mon-, which both mean “one,” are important prefixes in the English language. For instance, the prefix mono- gave rise to the words monologue and monotonous, whereas we find its variant mon- in words such as monarchy and monk. A monarchy, for instance, is rule by “one,” whereas a monosyllabic word only has “one” syllable.

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#65 Jan 23, 12

uni-

one

The prefix uni- which means “one” is an important prefix in the English language. For instance, the prefix uni- gave rise to the words unicycle, uniform, and unison. Perhaps the easiest way to remember that uni- means “one” is through the word unicorn, or mythological horse that had “one” horn.

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#64 Jan 19, 12

contra-

opposite

The prefix contra- and its variant counter- mean “opposite” or “against.” For instance, the prefix contra- gave rise to the words contradict and contrast, whereas the variant spelling counter- gave rise to counteract and counterfeit. To contradict someone is to speak “against” what she is saying, whereas a counterclockwise direction is “opposite” of the normal way a clock’s hands usually run.

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#63 Jan 17, 12

pro-

forward

The prefix pro- primarily means “forward” but can also mean “for.” Some words that the prefix pro- gave rise to are promise, pro, and promote. When you, for instance, make progress, you are stepping “forward,” whereas if you give the pros in an argument, you are speaking “for” something by stating its advantages.

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#62 Jan 12, 12

eponyms4

Eponyms play a smaller role than Latin and Greek root words in forming English vocabulary, but nevertheless are important for learning the word origins of English vocabulary. An eponym is an English word that is derived from a name, such as that of a person or place. Today we will explore three eponyms derived from the history of literature: serendipity, braggadocio, and bowdlerize.

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#61 Jan 09, 12

circum-

around

The prefix circum- which means “around” and the Latin root word circ which mean “ring” both are influential in making up English words. For instance, the prefix circum- gave rise to the words circumference and circumstances, whereas the root circ gave rise to circle and circulation. Clearly a circumference is the bearing “around” a circle, whereas a circle itself is in the form of a “ring.”

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#60 Jan 06, 12

super-

over, above

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix super- and its variant sur- mean “over.” Examples using this prefix include superior, supervise, surname, and surface. An easy way to remember that the prefix super- means “over” is through the comic book hero Superman, who is the man “over” all other men in terms of physical power.

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#59 Jan 03, 12

sub-

under

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix sub-, with its variants which all begin with su-, is a prolific part of the English language. Examples using this prefix include subway, suffer, supply, and suggest. An easy way to remember that the prefix sub- means “under” is through the word submarine, or a vehicle that travels “under” the sea.

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