The English stem plic comes from a Latin root word meaning ‘fold,’ as in to “bend over on itself” or “bend in two.”
When you duplicate something, you ‘fold’ it twice, thus making two things. In the same way, if documents are in triplicate, they are ‘folded’ three times, or there are three copies of them. When you multiply two numbers, their product is a larger number, such as 9X7=63. If you think of each part of the product 63 as a ‘fold,’ multiplication makes many such ‘folds.’
If something is complicated, like a math problem, it is so thoroughly ‘folded’ that it is hard to unravel or un’fold’ it to make it clear. You might have quite a time trying to explicate a thorny problem, or ‘folding’ it out to reveal its solution. On the other hand, the origin of the word simplicity suggests being ‘folded’ only once, which is as clear as you can possibly get.
When you replicate something, you ‘fold’ it again to make another one of it. For instance, a replica of a Roman coin is an identical ‘fold’ of it because it looks just like it.
What are you doing if you are applying for a job? An applicant wishes to ‘fold’ herself into a particular institution, like a college or business. Thus she fills out an application in the hopes of ‘folding’ herself in where she wants to work!
An accomplice to a crime is someone who has ‘folded’ himself towards the primary criminal, helping him either commit the crime or preparing the way for its completion. A person of this kind then would be complicit in the crime, choosing to be ‘folded’ in with it.
Hopefully now you will no longer find complications but mere simplicity when you encounter an English word with the stem plic in it, since you have been ‘folded’ into the know!
- duplicate: ‘fold’ twice
- triplicate: ‘folded’ three times
- multiplication: act of ‘folding’ many times
- complicated: thoroughly ‘folded’
- explicate: ‘fold’ out
- simplicity: ‘folded’ but once
- replicate: ‘fold’ again
- replica: that which is ‘folded’ again
- application: act of ‘folding’ towards
- accomplice: one ‘folded’ with another
- complicit: ‘folded’ with another