Origins – Aging And The Old

We know that a geriatrician specializes in the medical care of the elderly. The Greek word geras, old age, has a derived form, geron, old man, the root in gerontologist. The speciality is gerontology, the adjective is gerontological.
The Latin word for old is senex, the base on which senile, senescent, senior, and senate are built.
1.senile – showing signs of the physical and/or mental detioriation that generally marks very old age. The noun is senility.
2.senescent – aging, growing old. (Note the same suffix in this word as in adolescent, growing into an adult, convalescent, growing healthy again, and obsolescent, growing or becoming obsolete.) The noun is senescence.
3.senior – older. Noun: seniority.
4.senate – originally a council of older, and presumably wiser, citizens.
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The Root Of English – The Enlightenment

The tendencies established during the Renaissance continued throughout the 18th century – the period of the ‘Enlightenment’. The works of writers like Dr Samuel Johnson and Edward Gibbon are packed with Latin- and Greek-based words that bear witness to their classical educations. And as Britain became a world power in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a new confidence in the qualities of English. The feeling gained currency that the language had now reached a state of unparalleled elegance and perfection, and that any change could only be for the worse.
There were two important consequences of this new-found confidence. First, the desire to ‘fix’ English – which lay behind the pioneering work of Dr Johnson and others in dictionary-making and the study of English grammar. Dr Johnson’s dictionary, published in 1755, was the first dictionary that seriously attempted a complete coverage of the English vocabulary.
The other result was the formulation of rules of usage – the ‘this-is-right-and-you-are-wrong’ attitude. Several ‘rules’ still peddled today come from this period, with little or no basis in the language as it is or ever has been used. There is the ‘rule’ for instance, that prepositions should not be used to end clauses with. Most of these prejudices were based on attempts to impose Latin grammar upon English. Preposition, for example, means literally ‘placed in front’, hence ‘something placed in front of something’, and so, said the lawgivers, prepositions could not go at the end.
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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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