Falling under this category of words that derive from the Latin root "cadere," meaning "to fall," are some surprises: "incident," "accident," and all of those "-cide" words having to do with killing.
More Latin Love, Volume II lists: fluere, iacere, onym, and vertere!
ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
a large waterfall; violent rush of water over a precipice
You may be puzzled by the example sentence, which seems not to comport with the definition of "cataract." Although a cataract is a waterfall, when a kind of anatomical waterfall clouds over the eye, we call that condition a cataract. Cataracts of the eye are extremely common in senior citizens. Fortunately, surgery for cataracts is said to be rather simple and successful.
Although the word "cascade," literally refers to a series of small, related waterfalls, the word is often used metaphorically for any series of events where one thing rapidly falls upon another. If you've ever been in an airport in poor flying weather, you'll see delays and cancellations falling one after another on the posted list of flights.
Cascading delays held up flights at some of nation’s busiest airports, including New York, Baltimore and Washington.
—Time (Apr 28, 2013)
If you think about rhythm, how it is a pattern of rising and falling tones, you'll get the connection between the word "cadence" and its meaning. Although the word is often applied to sounds of speech and music, as in the example sentence, "cadence" also refers to a marching rhythm.
With the prefix "co-" meaning "together," and "-cide" meaning "to fall," it is clear to see that the word "coincide" means "falling together." Events are "coincidental" when they "coincide," creating a "coincidence."
Othello opened at the Olivier Theatre on Tuesday - coinciding with Shakespeare's 23 April birthday.
—BBC (Apr 24, 2013)
the killing of a human being by another human being
The word "homicide" has many brothers, including "fratricide" (the killing of one's brother), "patricide," (the killing of one's father), "matricide," (the killing of one's mother), "regicide," (the killing of one's king), and "suicide" (the killing of oneself). There's also "insecticide," "herbicide," and "pesticide."
marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay
With the prefix "de-" meaning, in this case, "down," and the root "cad-" meaning "to fall," it's clear to see how the word "decadent" connects overindulgence in sensory pleasures with a fall, either a physical fall (illness) or a fall from grace (sin).
Barking Frog pastry chef Matt Kelley will show you how to make some easy decadent desserts like chocolate passion fruit parfait at home.
—Seattle Times (Feb 15, 2012)
The word "catastrophe" consists of two roots, one Latin ("cata-," meaning "to fall,") and one Greek ("strophe-," meaning "a twist"). When catastrophe strikes, things do indeed twist themselves into a downward spiral. "Disaster" and "calamity" are synonyms.
With the prefix "re-" meaning "again," and the root "cid-" meaning "to fall," it's clear to see how the word "recidivism" refers to the "re-falling" into crime of a felon after having served time in prison.
The word "catapult" is etymologically ironic because it refers to going forward with force rather than falling, as its root "cata-" would imply. Although a "catapult," used as a noun, is the word for an actual weapon, and although the verb "catapult,"
means hurled by some sort of slinging device, the word "catapult" is often used metaphorically, as it is in the example sentence, where it means "propelled forward at a stunning pace." We often refer to a person's career as catapulting, if successf