The Latin root word cent, “one hundred” and the prefix centi-, “one-hundredth” are important morphemes in the English language. Although I won’t be giving one hundred examples of words that include cent and centi-, I will give you a few “pennies” or “cents” for your thoughts!
A cent is simply “one-hundredth” of a dollar, so that “one hundred” cents comprise one dollar. The concept of percent, or per “hundred,” is a calculation of how much out of “one hundred” parts something is. For instance, if 70 percent of the human body is comprised of water, then 70 parts of 100 would be water. The percentage correct that you get on a test is simply the number right you would have if the test itself were based upon “100” points. For instance, if you got a 95 percent on a test, you would have the equivalent of 95 answers correct out of “one hundred,” whether or not the test actually had 100 points. Your percentile ranking gives you an idea of where you stand in a group based on “one hundred” people; if you are in the 99th percentile, for instance, you would be the top one in the room if it contained exactly “one hundred” people, as 99% of the people would be below you!
These days, living for an entire century, or a full “one hundred” years, is not so uncommon any more. For instance, in the United States alone, the number of centenarians, or those who are “one hundred” years of age, has jumped from 2300 in 1950 to well over 53,000 in the 2010 census! And, of those centenarians, about 1 in 1000 will become supercentenarians, reaching the rarefied age of 110. Say you were born in the year 2000; if you lived to be 100, you could celebrate your own centennial, or period of “one hundred” years, on your birthday in the year 2100. I doubt if anyone, at least for now, will ever be able to celebrate her own bicentennial, or period of two “hundred” years, must less her tricentennial, or period of three “hundred” years!
Having not quite lived up to a full “one hundred” examples for cent, I will promise to give more than “one-hundredth” of an example for the prefix centi-! The metric system loves the prefix centi-, or “one-hundredth.” For example, a centimeter is “one-hundredth” of a meter, a centiliter “one- hundredth” of a liter, and a centigram? That’s it, “one-hundredth” of a gram!
The Latin word centum, which means “one hundred,” gave rise to words for one hundred in the Romance languages as well, for example: the Spanish cien, the French cent, the Italian cento, and the Portuguese cem.
You can now confidently get a 100% on your next vocabulary quiz if the root cent, “one hundred,” and the prefix centi-, “one-hundredth” are featured on it!
- cent: “one-hundredth” of a dollar
- percent: per “one hundred” or by “the hundred”
- percentage: the number correct based upon “one hundred” points
- percentile: a ranking based upon “one hundred” people
- century: “one hundred” years
- centenarian: a person who is “one hundred” years old
- supercentenarian: a person who is “one hundred” ten years old
- centennial: of a period of “one hundred” years
- bicentennial: of a period of two “hundred” years
- tricentennial: of a period of three “hundred” years
- centimeter: one “one-hundredth” of a meter
- centiliter: one “one-hundredth” of a liter
- centigram: one “one-hundredth” of a gram
- cien: Spanish word for “one hundred”
- cent: French word for “one hundred”
- cento: Italian word for “one hundred”
- cen: Portuguese word for “one hundred”