Body Parts: Ora, Os

Think before you orate, and don't confuse the Latin singular for mouth with the one for bone (both are spelled "os").

For more dissections of words with Latin and Greek anatomy, check out these lists: corpus, caput, ora, os, dens, gaster, neuron, manus, ped, podos, derma, carnem, os, cor, kardia, psyche

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. oral
    of or relating to or affecting or for use in the mouth
    Not taking care of your teeth impacts more than your oral health, however.US News (May 20, 2015)
    ora (mouths) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
    As shown by the roots and example sentence, the word is most often used as an adjective, but it can also be a noun that refers to a test conducted by spoken communication rather than writing.
  2. orator
    a person who delivers a speech
    I’ll never be an orator, but anyone can learn to get up and speak.The Guardian (Oct 17, 2014)
    ora (mouths) + or (suffix forming nouns)
    The "t" is likely to have been added to make the noun easier for our mouths to pronounce. It can also be seen in the Latin "oratus," which is the past participle of the verb "orare" (which means "to speak").
  3. oratory
    addressing an audience formally
    One of the day’s oratory highlights was actor Don Cheadle explaining the dangers of lead paint.Washington Post (Apr 18, 2015)
    ora (mouths) + ory (suffix forming adjectives or nouns)
    The example sentence uses the word as an adjective to modify the noun "highlights." But all the speeches of the day could be considered oratories, if all the speakers were skilled in the art of oratory. These are the most common uses of the word. But another meaning of the verb "orare" is "to pray" so an oratory could also be a small chapel.
  4. oratorio
    a musical composition for voices and orchestra
    The oratorio ends with the chorus singing, “Greater love has no man than he who gives his life for those he loves.”New York Times (Jun 4, 2015)
    ora (mouths) + ory (suffix forming adjectives or nouns)
    The definition doesn't show it, but the example sentence suggests that an oratorio usually has a religious theme. The lyric sounds like a reference to Jesus Christ, but it is actually about Joan of Arc (the comparison was intended). Although this was performed in a music hall, oratorios originated as musical services in an oratory.
  5. oracle
    an authoritative person who divines the future
    Genetic testing for Huntington’s plays a role only oracles and soothsayers could have done in the past.Salon (Jun 1, 2015)
    ora (mouths) + culo (suffix meaning "material that is instrumental, means, device")
    An oracle could be the person who predicts the future, the shrine where one consults a god who knows the future, or the prophecy that is the prediction of the future. Unlike genetic testing, oracles are spoken. Unlike oracles, genetic testing usually gives a clear answer. But as the article suggests, both can be compared to looking into the opening of a lion's mouth.
  6. orison
    reverent petition to a deity
    He started his orisons again, and soon was praying like a locomotive: “Ora pro nobis!Stocking, Charles Francis
    ora (mouths) + ion (suffix forming nouns)
    The changes in spelling are due to the word passing through different versions of French. Unlike an oration that is public and could be on any topic, an orison is often a more private prayer to a god. But the example sentence contradicts this with the locomotive simile and the shouting of the Latin phrase "ora pro nobis" ("pray for us").
  7. orotund
    full and rich, of sounds
    The father of Seneca had a school of oratory where rich Roman youths were taught to mouth in orotund and gesticulate in curves.Hubbard, Elbert
    ora (mouths) + rotundus (round)
    In Latin, the adjective used to be a two-word phrase that meant "with round mouth." Rounding one's mouth helps to produce full and rich sounds. The adjective can also describe well-rounded phrases that can seem "ostentatiously lofty in style." While orators might want their oratories to sound orotund, they might not want the contents of their speeches to be orotund, especially when speaking to audiences who favor down-to-earth honesty.
  8. orifice
    an opening, especially one that opens into a bodily cavity
    The eggs enter the hosts through body orifices such as nose, mouth, eyes or skin wounds.Seattle Times (Nov 17, 2014)
    ora (mouths) + facere (to make, do)
    Although the definition and example sentence suggest that most orifices are natural openings in the body, the verb "facere" suggests otherwise. Originally, an orifice was an opening created by a wound, but nowadays, it can refer to any opening, naturally occurring or made by outside forces, through which something may pass.
  9. osculation
    the act of kissing
    I suppose he was afraid she would have no lips left after such reiterated osculation.Unknown
    os (mouth) + ulum (suffix forming diminutives) + ation (suffix forming nouns)
    A more technical definition of the noun is "a contact of two curves at which they have a common tangent." But you must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, as words go by.
  10. oscillate
    be undecided about something
    I weighed my options, oscillating back and forth.Time (Oct 29, 2014)
    os (mouth) + ulum (suffix forming diminutives) + ate (suffix forming verbs)
    The roots are similar to those for "osculate" but modern usage of "oscillate" no longer has a literal connection to the mouth. The verb comes from the ancient belief that hanging an open-mouthed mask of Bacchus, the god of wine, would help vineyards. The sense of indecision comes from the mask swinging in the breeze.
  11. oscillation
    a complete execution of a periodically repeated phenomenon
    One of these patterns, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, has a warm phase and a cool phase, each of which can last many years.Los Angeles Times (Jun 4, 2015)
    os (mouth) + ulum (suffix forming diminutives) + ation (suffix forming nouns)
    In addition to the chosen definition, the noun has another technical definition used by physicists and a more general definition that connects more closely to the verb and refers to the process of swinging between states.
  12. oscilloscope
    electronic equipment that provides visual images of varying electrical quantities
    A small community of musicians are using oscilloscopes to hide intricate animations and messages inside music.BBC (Jan 14, 2015)
    os (mouth) + ulum (suffix forming diminutives) + ate (suffix forming verbs) + scope (an instrument for seeing)
    Originally referred to as an oscillograph, an oscilloscope is most often used to detect malfunctions in electronic equipment.
  13. ostomy
    surgical procedure that creates an artificial opening for the elimination of bodily wastes
    He explained that some people with an ostomy pouch will open a corner of it to let a little gas out.Salon (Apr 7, 2013)
    kolon (large intestine) + stoma (mouth) + tomy (suffix meaning "a cutting")
    This word looks like it should connect to the Latin word for "mouth" but it is a shortened form of "colostomy" and connects to the Greek word. The two words might have crossed paths at some point, but that is not as easy to swallow as the idea that the mouth leads to the stomach.

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