The ancients believed that the universe, or the cosmos, was composed of five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water, and sky. (When advances in technology revealed more elements that were much smaller, these classical five were reclassified as states of matter--solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.) The ancient words for these elements show up in our language today, through Greek and Latin roots for earth (terra, geo), water (hydor, aqua), fire (ignis, pyr), and words from the sky including air (aer, ventus, aither), star (astron), and sun (sol). Find words from cosmos here, then check out lists from other Greek and Latin word-forming elements: cosmos, terra, geo, hydor, aqua, ignis, pyr, aer, ventus, aither, astron, sol
Know your body through this list. 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
Here are 15 more common English words whose roots come from indigenous languages of the Americas. The fate of the people who spoke these languages varies greatly, from tribes lost to history that we only know about through records of other tribes -- to the Guarani, whose language at last count had over 4 million speakers in Paraguay. All of these peoples, whatever their current status, have contributed their ideas and their perspectives through the English words below. Many of these terms have to do with animals and foods to be found in nature, but the Algonquian roots of "tuxedo" may come as a surprise! Read on below for tales of many more English words from indigenous sources.
There are many words that exist in English whose origin on the Indian subcontinent is clear. Words like chutney and yoga are part of everyday life for many people in the English-speaking world, and they encounter these words in an Eastern context. But the influence of Hindi on English spreads far beyond that sitar seen in the guitar shop or the documentary on the 1960s. Words completely removed from that milieu -- like cot , jungle and pundit -- are Hindi in origin as well. Here are 15 English words of Hindi origin and their etymologies.
All the words below have the prefix "in-" meaning "not," as their first element. The problem is that even though many of the words have negative senses in Modern English, their positive counterparts have fallen out of use, or existed only in Latin. These words may have been part of a pair, once upon a time, but their partners are no more. Through the illustrative sentences and the linguistic tidbits below, we have tried to make the history of these negative words with "in-" clearer and hopefully easier to remember.
Yiddish is an amalgam of German, Russian, Hebrew and many other languages that has persevered even though the fate of the people who speak it has been consistently in danger for centuries. The fact that English, the most popular language on the planet, contains words that are recognizably derived from Yiddish is something of a linguistic miracle, considering many of the 13 million native speakers of Yiddish were wiped out during World War II. Many of these 15 words may be familiar, but the routes they took to get to English, and the literal meanings of many of them, are surprising. Here are 15 common English words derived from Yiddish.
Most words come to us from the English language's Germanic roots, as well as a lot of Latin and Ancient Greek. There are, however, many English words that are actually derived from Arabic. Most of these have to do with chemistry, astronomy or mathematics - but here's a list of words to do with food and drink that have their roots in Arabic. Scientific words entered Europe following the Renaissance, as many scientists and philosophers looked to the texts of the Arab World and their translations of classical works. The words in this list mainly reach English through Portuguese and Spanish, as Iberia was under the control of Arabs from 710 - 1492 AD. As the Portuguese and Spanish were in such close proximity to Arabic on a daily basis, many of the food and drink items featured here were first introduced to them, before they passed them on to the rest of Europe.
English contains words that derive from many other languages. Here we present 15 words that passed through Gaelic. Some of these words are stereotypically Gaelic, like bog and clan, but others may be a surprise, like words as common as loop or as colorful as curmudgeon.
When something is named after a person or a place or a company, we call that name an eponym. If you know anyone who says "Get me a Kleenex" instead of "Get me a tissue," they are using an eponym every time they have to sneeze. Eponyms are everywhere- in science, medicine, the arts. This list focuses on words that are historically eponyms but are so common that their history of deriving from names has been obscured. In this list, the history of eponyms you didn't realize were eponyms is revealed.
Interestingly, the g in the Latin verb "seguire" morphs into related sounds, including c ("consecutive"), q ("sequence") and even u ("pursuit") More Latin Love, Volume III lists: capere, specere, pendere, and littera! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
Even if we don't know much Greek or Latin, we know that much of the English we speak is derived from those two languages. English has common words with roots in many different languages, though, and one of the most interesting is Old Norse, which dates from the 8th Century. Old Norse speakers colonized England centuries ago and these 10 words, and many more, are part of their legacy to modern-day speakers of English.
Quechua, which actually refers to several languages spoken throughout the Andes mountain range, has a total of between 8 and 10 million speakers. It is the most widely spoken indigenous language of the Americas. Here is a list of 15 words that English borrowed from Quechua, and while some of them are specific to a life in the Andes, a few, like the animal names, are fully incorporated into English.
Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by about 1.5 million people in central Mexico. Nahuatl was the language of the Aztec empire, and as long ago as that may be, traces of the language's influence can still be felt today. These 15 words, many of which are common in English, derive ultimately from Nahuatl, pre-dating the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
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."
The word "vocabulary" itself grows out of this root. Learn these words derived from the Latin root "vocare" (meaning "to name or call"). More Latin Love, Volume I lists: portare, sci, struere, and via! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
Learn these words beginning with the power prefix "anti" (meaning "against," "in opposition to," or "opposite of"). More Power Prefix lists: con-, fore-, inter-, mis-, pre-, sub-, super-, trans-, and uni-! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
Learn these words beginning with the power prefix "mis-" (meaning "hatred" or "incorrectly"). More Power Prefix lists: anti-, con-, fore-, inter-, pre-, sub-, super-, trans-, and uni-! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."