Origins – Measurement

The optometrist, by etymology, measures vision – the term is built on opsis, optikos, view, vision, plus metron, measurement.
Metron is the root in many other words:
1. Thermometer – an instrument to measure heat (Greek therme, heat).
2. Barometer – an instrument to measure atmospheric pressure (Greek baros, weight).
3. Sphygmomanometer – a device for measuring blood pressure (Greek sphygmos, pulse).
4. Metric system – a decimal system of weights and measures.
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Origins – The Mind

A neurosis is not a form of mental unbalance. A full-blown mental disorder is called a psychosis, a word built on Greek psyche, spirit, soul, or mind, plus –osis.
A true psychotic has lost contact with reality – at least with reality as most of us perceive it, though no doubt psychotic (note that this word, like neurotic, is both a noun and an adjective) people have their own form of reality.
Built on psyche plus iatreia, medical healing, a psychiatrist, by etymology, is a mind-healer. The speciality is psychiatry; the adjective is psychiatric.
Paediatrics, as you know, is also built on iatreia, as is geriatrics, the speciality dealing with the particular medical needs of the elderly. (This words combines iatreia with Greek geras, old age.)
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Origins Love, Hate, And Marriage

Misanthrope, misogynist, and misogamist are built on the Greek root misein, to hate. The misanthrope hates mankind (Greek anthropos, mankind); the misogynist hates women (Greek gyne, woman); the misogamist hates marriage (Greek gamos, marriage).
Anthropos, mankind, is also found in anthropology, the study of the development of the human race; and in philanthropist, one who loves mankind and shows such love by making substantial financial contributions to charitable organizations or by donating time and energy to helping those in need.
The root gyne, woman, is also found in gynaecologist, the medical specialist who treats female disorders. And the root gamos, marriage, occurs also in monogamy, bigamy, and polygamy.
(As we will discover later, monos means one, bi means two, polys means many.)
So monogamy is the custom of only one marriage (at a time).
Bigamy, by etymology, is two marriages  in actuality, the unlawful act of contracting another marriage without divorcing one’s current legal spouse.
And polygamy, by derivation many marriages, and therefore etymologically denoting plural marriage for either males or females, in current usage generally refers to the custom practiced in earlier times by the Mormons, and before them by King Solomon, in which the man has as many wives as he can afford financially and/or emotionally. The correct, but rarely used, term for this custom is polygyny  polys, many, plus gyne, woman.
What if a woman has two or more husbands, a form of marriage practiced in the Himalaya Mountains of Tibet? That custom is called polyandry, from polys plus Greek andros, male.
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Origins – Living Alone and Liking It

Ascetic is from the Greek word asketes, monk or hermit.
A monk lives a lonely life – not for him the pleasures of the fleshpots, the laughter and merriment of convivial gatherings, the dissipation of high living. Rather, days of contemplation, study, and rough toil, nights on a hard bed in a simple cell, and the kind of self-denial that leads to a purification of the soul.
That person is an ascetic who leads an existence, voluntarily of course, that compares in austerity, simplicity, and rigorous hardship with the life of a monk.
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Origins – The Heart

Cardiologist combines Greek kardia, heart, and logos, science.
The speciality is cardiology, the adjective cardiological.
So a cardiac condition refers to some malfunctioning of the heart; a cardiogram is an electrically produced record of the heartbeat. The instrument that produces this record is called a cardiograph.
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Origins – The Ego

Egoist and egotist are built on the same Latin root – the pronoun ego, meaning I. I is the greatest concern in the egoist’s mind, the most overused word in the egotist’s vocabulary. (keep the words differentiated in your own mind by thinking of the t in talk, and the additional t in egotist). Ego itself has been taken over from Latin as an important English word and is commonly used to denote one’s concept of oneself, as in, ‘What do you think your constant criticisms do to my ego?’ Ego has also a special meaning in psychology – but for the moment you have enough problems without going into that.
If you are an egocentric, you consider yourself the centre of the universe – you are an extreme form of egoist. And if you are an egomaniac, you carry egoism to such an extreme that your needs, desires, and interests have become a morbid obsession, a mania. The egoist or egotist is obnoxious, the egocentric is intolerable, and the egomaniac is dangerous and slightly mad.
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The Languages Of Early Britain

At the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain, the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family had developed into three large groups:
X . Eastern, represented by ancient Gothic, and now completely extinct.
X . Northern, which became Norse, the language of the Vikings, and ancestor of modern Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic – the last is the language that preserves the most ancient Germanic features.
X . Western, the group that included Anglo-Saxon, and whose descendants include as well as English, modern German, Dutch, Frisian, Yiddish, and Afrikaans.
Frisian, the foreign language closest to English is spoken in the north of the Netherlands and as a dying language along the coast of Germany. It is said that a Yorkshireman who concentrates hard can understand much modern spoken Frisian.
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Latin Influences On Old English

From the Anglo-Saxon period down to the 17th and 18th centuries, Latin, as well as being the language of church services, was the international language of culture and religion, and it was Latin-learned clerics who taught the English to write.
There appear to have been two distinct periods of Latin influence on Old English. The first corresponds with the 200 years after the arrival of Christianity in Britain in the 7th century. Most of the words it provided in this period were fairly practical. Germanic had already taken in Latin-based words like church and bishop, but now came many new words related to the new religion and its organisation: abbot, alms, candle, martyr, mass, noon, offer, priest, rule, and temple.
Some words dealing with education and culture also date from this period: for example, school, master, grammar, note, and verse (which appears in the Caedmon passage).
Latin influence waned with the turmoil of the Viking invasions during the later Anglo-Saxon period. But just before AD 1000 there started a new wave of scholarly activity in the English monasteries. From this period come new Christian words (some going back further, to Greek) such as cell, collect, demon, idol, and prime and new words to do with learning, such as accent, history, paper, and title.
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How To Talk About Science And Scientists

A true scientist lives up to the etymological meaning of his title ‘one who knows’. Anything scientific is based on facts – observable facts that can be recorded, tested, checked, and verified.
Science, then, deals with human knowledge – as far as it has gone. It has gone very far indeed since the last century or two, when we stopped basing our thinking on guesses, wishes, theories that had no foundation in reality, and concepts of how the world ought to be; and instead began to explore the world as it was, and not only the world but the whole universe. From Galileo , who looked through the first telescope atop a tower in Pisa, Italy, Pasteur, who watched microbes through a microscope, to Einstein, who deciphered riddles of the universe by means of mathematics, we have at last began to fill in a few areas of ignorance.
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How Grammar Changes

If you think that grammar is an exact science, get ready for a shock. Grammar is a science, all right – but it is most inexact. There are no inflexible laws, no absolutely hard and fast rules, no unchanging principles. Correctness varies with the times and depends much more on geography, on social class, and on collective human caprice than on the restrictions found in textbooks.
In mathematics, which is an exact science, five and five make ten the world over. There are two opinions on the matter – we are dealing, so far as we know, with a universal and indisputable fact.
In grammar, however, since the facts are highly susceptible to change, we have to keep an eye peeled for trends. What are educated people saying these days? Which expressions are generally used and accepted on educated levels of speech? The answers to these questions indicate the trends of usage, and if such trends come into conflict with academic rules, then the rules are no longer of any great importance.
Grammar follows the speech habits of the majority of educated people – not the other way around. That is the important point to keep in mind.
The following notes on current trends in modern usage are intended to help you come to a decision about certain controversial expressions. As you read each sentence, pay particular attention to the italicized word or words. Does the usage square with your own language patterns? Would you be willing to phrase your thoughts in such terms?
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