Latin Love, Vol II: vertere

The Latin verb "vertere," meaning "to turn," turns into several common and not-so-common words in English that you already know, such as "reverse."

More Latin Love, Volume II lists:
cadere, fluere, iacere, and onym!
ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. versatile
    competent in many areas and able to adapt with ease
    Dynamic, versatile athlete can impact games in multiple ways.Seattle Times (Aug 27, 2012)
    To be versatile is to have the ability to turn this way and that, to be flexible and adaptable. The noun form, "versatility" is a highly valued quality in a person or device because a versatile person or device may be easily used for multiple purposes.
  2. revert
    go back to a previous state
    Rather, it’s simply reverting to how things were as recently as a few years ago.Forbes (May 16, 2013)
    Although the noun form, "reverse," has a neutral connotation, "revert," like its fraternal twin word "regress" implies going backward in a negative sense, an undoing of developmental progress.
  3. subvert
    cause the downfall of
    The other four soon turned up in nearby jails, accused of inciting villagers to subvert the government.New York Times (Dec 16, 2011)
    The adjective form of this verb, "subversive" bears a sinister connotation, implying plots and schemes that are hatched by some underhanded (hence "sub") force. Although a dominant group can subvert a less powerful group, the word "subvert" is used more commonly to refer to reversals of power, as in the example sentence.
  4. invert
    turn inside out or upside down
    Magpies are careful, fastidious builders, adding to old nests, layering twigs to make deep inverted domes.
    In math, an inverted fraction is one whose numerators and denominators flip sides, turning the fraction around. Although the word "invert" has that specific meaning in mathematics, in broader terms it can mean either turning something upside down or turning it inside out.
  5. averse
    strongly opposed
    He's not averse to using shock tactics, either.
    You'll often hear folks using the word "adverse" when the correct word is actually "averse." As both words sound so much alike, have the same parentage, and really mean the same thing, it doesn't much matter, unless the person you are saying it to is averse to hearing "adverse" used where "averse" would be the more formal choice.
  6. adversary
    someone who offers opposition
    Slowly, though, citizens and authorities can start to work together, instead of seeing each other as adversaries.Slate (Sep 5, 2012)
    An adversary is, simply, an opponent, or, in stronger situations, an enemy--someone you turn against, usually because you think that they will, or already have, turned against you.
  7. perverse
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    He said: "There are lots of risks and complications and potentially perverse outcomes."
    The word "perverse" should not be confused with the words "pervert" and "perverted," both of which have a seriously negative connotation. To be perverse (as opposed to being perverted) is simply to be rebellious, contrary, resistant to authority or tradition. The difference between the innocent word "perverse" and the not-innocent-at-all "perverted" illustrates the turns that words can take over years of communication.
  8. controversy
    a dispute where there is strong disagreement
    All three are experienced lawyers who would be unlikely to generate controversy individually.
    With "contro-" meaning "against" or "in the opposite direction," and "vers-" meaning "to turn or engage," it is clear that we call something "controversial" when it turns out opposing points of view, engaging folks on two or more different sides.
  9. verse
    a piece of poetry
    Each verse is accompanied by brief background on the poem and poet.
    That poetry is called "verse" is probably related to the expressing "turn of phrase," meaning, a pleasant and clever combination of just the right words. Poetry is engagement of words in special ways (including rhyme, rhythm, figurative language). "Verse" is a versatile word when used to talk about poetry. A verse may be a single line, a bunch of lines that go together (stanza), a whole poem itself, or the whole genre of poetry. In the language of songs, the verse is either the little ditty that
  10. divert
    turn aside; turn away from
    Traffic was diverted along the old Severn Bridge.
    With the prefix "di-" meaning "two" and the root "vert-" meaning "to turn," it is clear that "divert" means to turn one route into two, or, to veer from a path. You may have heard of a person's hobby referred to as a "diversion," meaning a path that turns away from everyday chores. However, the adjective "diverse" and the noun "diversity" refer to variation. When we refer to a group as being "diverse" we are probably saying that it consists of a variety of ethnic groups, ages, preferences, and i
  11. avert
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    He may have averted an episode of needless gun violence in his patient’s home.Slate (Feb 1, 2013)
    With the prefix "a-" meaning, in this case, "away from" and the root "vert-" meaning "to turn," it is clear that "avert" means "to turn away from" or, as it is used," to avoid. A turn at the right fraction of a second on a winding road with a vehicle approaching unexpectedly in the oppostite direction can avert the disaster of a collision.

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