New Word-Analysis - Or, School Etymology of English Derivative Words
by William Swinton
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CUR'RANT, a small dried grape: "Corinth," in Greece, of which "currant" is a corruption.

DAM'ASK, figured linen or silk: "Damascus," in Syria, where first made.

DAM'SON, a small black plum: (shortened from "Damascene") Damascus.

DELF, a kind of earthenware: "Delft," in Holland, where it was orignally made.

DI'APER, a figured linen cloth, used for towels, napkins, etc.: "Ypres," in Flanders, where originally manufactured.

DIM'ITY, a figured cotton cloth: "Damietta," in Egypt.

GAMBOGE', a yellow resin used as a paint: "Cambodia, where it is obtained.

GING'HAM, cotton cloth, made of yarn dyed before woven: "Guincamp," in France, where it was first made.

GUIN'EA, an English gold coin of the value of twenty-one shillings: "Guinea," whence the gold was obtained out of which it was first struck.

GYP'SY, one of a wandering race: old English "Gyptian," from "Egypt," whence the race was supposed to have originated.

HOL'LAND, a kind of linen cloth: "Holland," where first made.

HOL'LANDS, a spirit flavored with juniper berries: "Holland," where it is extensively produced..

IN'DIGO, a blue dye: "India".

JAL'AP, a cathartic medicine: "Jalapa," in Mexico, whence it was first imported in 1610.

JET, a mineral used for ornament: "Gagates," a river in Asia Minor, whence it was obtained.

LAN'DAU, LAN'DAULET, a kind of carriage opening at the top: "Landau," a town in Germany.

MADEI'RA, a wine: "Madeira," where produced.

MAGNE'SIA, a primitive earth: "Magnesia," in Thessaly.

MAG'NET, the loadstone, or Magnesian stone.

MALM'SEY, a wine: "Malvasia," in the Morea.

MAR'SALA, a wine: "Marsala," in Sicily.

MEAN'DER, to flow in a winding course: "Meander," a winding river in Asia Minor.

MIL'LINER, one who makes ladies' bonnets, etc.: "Milan," in Italy.

MOROC'CO, a fine kind of leather: "Morocco," in Africa, where it was originally made.

NANKEEN', a buff-colored cloth: "Nankin," in China, where first made.

PHEAS'ANT, a bird whose flesh is highly valued as food: "Phasis," a river in Asia Minor, whence it was brought to Europe.

PIS'TOL, a small hand gun: "Pistoja," in Italy, where first made.

PORT, a wine: "Oporto," in Portugal, whence extensively shipped.

SARDINE', a small Mediterranean fish, of the herring family: "Sardinia" around whose coasts the fish abounds.

SAUTERNE', a wine: "Sauterne," in France, where produced.

SHER'RY, a wine: "Xeres," in Spain, where it is largely manufactured.

SPAN'IEL, a dog of remarkable sagacity: "Hispaniola," now Hayti, where originally found.

TAR'IFF, a list of duties or customs to be paid on goods imported or exported: from an Arabic word, tarif, information.

TO'PAZ, a precious stone: "Topazos," an island in the Red Sea, where it is found.

TRIP'OLI, a fine grained earth used in polishing stones: "Tripoli," in Africa, where originally obtained.

TURQUOIS', a bluish-green stone: "Turkey," whence it was originally brought.

WORST'ED, well-twisted yarn, spun of long-staple wool: "Worsted," a village in Norfolk, England, where first made.



ANTARC'TIC: Gr. anti, opposite, and arktos, a bear. See arctic.

ARCHIPEL'AGO: Gr. archi, chief, and pelagos, sea, originally applied to the AEgean Sea, which is studded with numerous islands.

ARC'TIC: Gr. arktikos, from arktos, a bear and a northern constellation so called.

ATLAN'TIC: Lat. Atlanticus, from "Atlas," a fabled Titan who was condemned to bear heaven on his head and hands.

AX'IS: Lat. axis, an axletree.

BAR'BAROUS: Gr. barbaros, foreign.

BAY: Fr. baie, from Lat. baia, an inlet.

CAN'CER: Lat. cancer, a crab (the name of one of the signs of the zodiac).

CAPE: Fr. cap, from Lat. caput, head.

CAP'ITAL: Lat. capitalis, from caput, head.

CAP'RICORN: Lat. caper, goat, and cornu, horn (the name of one of the signs of the zodiac).

CAR'DINAL: adj Lat. cardinalis, from cardo, cardinis, a hinge.

CHAN'NEL: Lat. canalis, from canna, a reed or pipe.

CIR'CLE: Lat. circus, from Gr. kirkos, a ring.

CIRCUM'FERENCE: Lat. circum, around, and ferre, to bear.

CIT'Y: Fr. cite, from Lat. civitas, a state or community.

CIV'ILIZED: Lat. civilis, pertaining to an organized community.

CLI'MATE: Gr. klima, klimatos, slope, the supposed slope of the earth from the Equator to the poles.

COAST: Old Fr. coste (New Fr. cote), from Lat. costa, rib, side.

CON'FLUENCE: Lat. con, together, and fluere, to flow.

CON'TINENT: Lat. con, together, and tenere, to hold.

CON'TOUR: Lat. con, together, and tornus, a lathe.

COUN'TY: Fr. comte, from Lat. comitatus, governed by a count.

DEGREE': Lat. de, and gradus, a step

DIAM'ETER: Gr. dia, through, and metron, measure.

EQUA'TOR: Lat. equus, equal.

ES'TUARY: Lat. aestuare, to boil up, or be furious, the reference being to the commotion made by the meeting of a river-current and the tide.

FRIG'ID: Lat. frigidus, from frigere, to be cold.

GEOG'RAPHY: Gr. ge, the earth, and graphe, a description.

GLOBE: Lat. globus, a round body.

GULF: Fr. golfe, from Gr. kolpos, bosom, bay.

HAR'BOR: Anglo-Saxon, hereberga, from beorgan, to shelter.

HEM'ISPHERE: Gr. hemi, half, and sphaira, sphere.

HORI'ZON: Gr. horizein, to bound.

IN'DIAN (ocean): India.

ISTH'MUS: Gr. isthmos, a neck.

LAKE: Lat. lacus, a lake.

LAT'ITUDE: Lat. latitudo, from latus, broad.

LON'GITUDE: Lat. longitudo, from longus, long.

MERID'IAN: Lat. meridies (= medius, middle, and dies, day), noon.

METROP'OLIS: Gr. meter, mother, and polis, city.

MON'ARCHY: Gr. monarches, from monos, alone, and archein, to rule.

MOUN'TAIN: Fr. montagne, from Lat. mons, montis, a mountain.

OB'LATE: Lat. oblatus (ob and past part. of ferre, to bring), brought forward.

O'CEAN: Gr. okeanus, from okus, rapid, and nacin, to flow.

PACIF'IC: Lat. pacificus, from pax, pacis, peace, and facere, to make.

PAR'ALLEL: Gr. para, beside, and allelon, of one another.

PENIN'SULA: Lat. penes, almost, and insula, island.

PHYS'ICAL: Gr. physis (phusis), nature.

PLAIN: Lat. planus, flat.

PLANE: Lat. planus, flat.

POLE: Gr. polos, a pivot.

POLIT'ICAL: Gr. polis, a city or state.

PROM'ONTORY: Lat. pro, before, and mons, montis, a mountain.

RELIEF': Fr. relever, from Lat. relevare, to raise.

REPUB'LIC: Lat. res, an affair, and publica, public: that is, a commonwealth.

RIV'ER: Fr. riviere, from Lat. ripa, a shore or bank.

SAV'AGE: Fr. sauvage, from Lat. silva, a wood.

SEA: Anglo-Saxon, sae, the sea.

SOCI'ETY: Lat. societas, from socius, a companion.


AD'JECTIVE, Lat. adjectivus, from ad and jacere, to add to: a word joined to a noun or pronoun to limit or describe its meaning.

AD'JUNCT, Lat. adjunctus, from ad and jungere, to join to: a modifier or subordinate element of a sentence.

AD'VERB, Lat. adverbium, from ad, to, and verbum, word, verb: a word used to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

ANAL'YSIS, Gr. analusis, from ana and luein, to unloose, to resolve into its elements: the separation of a sentence into its constituent elements.

ANTECE'DENT, Lat. antecedens, pres. part. of antecedere, to go before: the noun or pronoun represented by a relative pronoun.

APPOSI'TION, Lat. appositio, from ad, to, and ponere, to place beside: the state of two nouns put in the same case without a connecting word between them.

AR'TICLE, Lat. articulus, a little joint: one of the three words, a, an, or the.

AUXIL'IARY, Lat. auxiliaris, from auxilium, help, aid: a verb used to assist in conjugating other verbs.

CASE, Lat. casus, from cadere, to fall, to happen: a grammatical form denoting the relation of a noun or pronoun to some other word in the sentence.

CLAUSE, Lat. claudere, clausum, to shut: a dependent proposition introduced by a connective.

COMPAR'ISON, Lat. comparatio, from comparare, to liken to: a variation in the form of an adjective or adverb to express degrees of quantity or quality.

COM'PLEMENT, Lat. complementum, from con and plere, to fill fully: the word or words required to complete the predication of a transitive verb.

COM'PLEX (sentence), Lat. complexus, from con and plectere, to twist around: a sentence consisting of one independent proposition and one or more clauses.

COM'POUND (sentence), Lat. componere (= con and ponere), to put together: a sentence consisting of two or more independent propositions.

CONJUGA'TION, Lat. conjugatio, from con and jugare, to join together: the systematic arrangement of a verb according to its various grammatical forms.

CONJUNCTION, Lat. conjunctio, from con and jungere, to join together: a word used to connect sentences or the elements of sentences.

DECLEN'SION, Lat. declinatio, from declinare, to lean or incline: the process of giving in regular order the cases and numbers of a noun or pronoun.

ELLIP'SIS, Gr. elleipsis, a leaving or defect: the omission of a word or words necessary to complete the grammatical structure of the sentence.

ETYMOL'OGY, Gr. etumologia, from etumon, the true literal sense of a word, and logos, a discourse: that division of grammar which treats of the classification and grammatical forms of words.

FEM'ININE (gender), Lat. femininus, from femina, woman: the gender of a noun denoting a person of the female sex.

GEN'DER, Lat. genus, generis, kind: a grammatical form expressing the sex or non-sex of an object named by a noun.

GRAM'MAR, Gr. gramma, a letter, through Fr. grammaire: the science of language.

IMPER'ATIVE (mood), Lat. imperativus, from imperare, to command: the mood of a verb used in the statement of a command or request.

INDIC'ATIVE (mood), Lat. indicativus, from indicare, to proclaim: the mood of a verb used in the statement of a fact, or of a matter taken as a fact.

INFLEC'TION, Lat. inflexio, from inflectere, to bend in: a change in the ending of a word.

INTERJEC'TION, Lat. interjectio, from inter and jacere, to throw between: a word which expresses an emotion, but which does not enter into the construction of the sentence.

INTRAN'SITIVE (verb), Lat. intransitivus = in, not, and transitivus, from trans and ire, itum, to go beyond: a verb that denotes a state or condition, or an action not terminating on an object.

MAS'CULINE (gender), Lat. masculus, male: the gender of a noun describing a person of the male sex.

MODE. See mood.

MOOD, Lat. modus, through Fr. mode, manner: a grammatical form denoting the style of predication.

NEU'TER (gender), Lat. neuter, neither: the gender of a noun denoting an object without life.

NOM'INATIVE (case), Lat. nominativus, from nomen, a name: that form which a noun has when it is the subject of a verb.

NOUN, Lat. nomen, a name, through Fr. nom: a name-word, the name of anything.

NUM'BER, Lat. numerus, through Fr. nombre, number: a grammatical form expressing one or more than one of the objects named by a noun or pronoun.

OB'JECT, Lat. ob and jacere, to set before: that toward which an activity is directed or is considered to be directed.

OBJEC'TIVE (case), Lat. objectivus, from ob and jacere: the case which follows a transitive verb or a preposition.

PARSE, Lat. pars, a part: to point out the several parts of speech in a sentence and their relation to one another.

PAR'TICIPLE, Lat. participium, from pars, part, and capere, to take, to share: a verbal adjective, a word which shares or participates in the nature both of the verb and of the adjective.

PER'SON, Lat. persona, the part taken by a performer: a grammatical form which shows whether the speaker is meant, the person spoken to, or the person spoken of.

PHRASE, Gr. phrasis, a brief expression, from phrazein, to speak: a combination of related words forming an element of a sentence.

PLE'ONASM, Gr. pleonasmos, from pleion, more: the use of more words to express an idea than are necessary.

PLU'RAL (number), Lat. pluralis, from plus, pluris, more: the number which designates more than one.

POSSESS'IVE (case), Lat. possessivus, from possidere, to own: that form which a noun or pronoun has in order to denote ownership or possession.

POTEN'TIAL (mood), Lat. potens, potentis, being able: the mood of a verb used in the statement of something possible or contingent.

PREDICATE, Lat. praedicatum, from prae and dicare, to proclaim: the word or words in a proposition which express what is affirmed of the subject.

PREPOSI'TION, Lat. praepositio, from prae and ponere, to put before: a connective word expressing a relation of meaning between a noun or pronoun and some other word.

PRO'NOUN, Lat. pronomen, from pro, for, and nomen, a noun: a word used instead of a noun.

PROP'OSITION, Lat. propositio, from proponere (pro and ponere), to put forth: the combination of a subject with a predicate.

REL'ATIVE (pronoun), Lat. relativus, from re and ferre, latus, to bear back: a pronoun that refers to an antecedent noun or pronoun.

SEN'TENCE, Lat. sententia, from sentire, to think: a combination of words expressing a complete thought.

SIM'PLE (sentence), Lat. simplex, from sine, without, and plica, fold: a sentence having but one subject and one predicate.

SUB'JECT, Lat. subjectus, from sub and jacere, to place under: that of which something is predicated.

SUBJUNC'TIVE (mood), Lat. subjunctivus, from sub and jungere, to subjoin: the mood used in the statement of something merely thought of.

SYN'TAX, Gr. suntaxis, from sun, together, and taxis, arrangement: that division of grammar which treats of the relations of words in sentences.

TENSE, Lat. tempus, time, through Fr. temps: a grammatical form of the verb denoting the time of the action or event.

TRAN'SITIVE, Lat. transitivus, from trans and ire, itum, to pass over: a verb that denotes an action terminating on some object.

VERB, Lat. verbum, a word: a word that predicates action or being.

VOICE, Lat. vox, vocis, voice, through Fr. voix: a grammatical form of the transitive verb, expressing whether the subject names the actor or the recipient of the action.


ADDI'TION, Lat. additio, from addere, to add.

AL'IQUOT, Lat. aliquot, some.

ARITH'METIC, Gr. adj. arithmetike, numerical, from n. arithmos, number.

AVOIRDUPOIS', Fr. avoir du pois, to have [a fixed or standard] weight.

CANCELLA'TION, Lat. cancellatio, from cancellare, to make like a lattice (cancelli), to strike or cross out.

CENT, Lat. centum, a hundred.

CI'PHER, Arabic sifrun, empty, zero.

CUBE, Gr. kubos, a cubical die.

DEC'IMAL, Lat. decimus, tenth, from decem, ten.

DENOM'INATOR, Lat. denominare, from de and nominare (nomen, a name), to call by name.

DIG'IT, Lat. digitus, a finger.

DIV'IDEND, Lat. dividendus, to be divided, from dividere, to divide.

DIVIS'ION, Lat. divisio, from dividere, to divide.

DIVI'SOR, Sp. divisor, that which divides, from Lat. dividere, to divide.

DOL'LAR, Ger. thaler, an abbreviation of Joachimsthaler, i.e. a piece of money first coined, about 1518, in the valley (thal) of St. Joachim, in Bohemia.

EQUA'TION, Lat. aequatio, from aequus, equal.

EXPO'NENT, Lat. exponens, pres. part. of exponere, to set forth (= ex and ponere).

FAC'TOR, Lat. factor, that which does something, from facere, factum, to do or make.

FIG'URE, Lat. figura, shape, from fingere, to form or shape.

FRAC'TION, Lat. fractio, from frangere, to break.

IN'TEGER, Lat. integer, untouched, whole.

IN'TEREST, Lat. interest = it interests, is of interest (3d per. sing. pres. indic. of interesse, to be between, to be of importance).

MIN'UEND, Lat. minuendus, to be diminished, from minuere, to lessen.

MUL'TIPLE, Lat. multiplex, from multus, much, and plicare, to fold.


NAUGHT, Anglo-Sax. nawhit, from ne, not, and awiht or auht, aught, anything.

NOTA'TION, Lat. notatio, from notare, to mark (nota, a mark).

NUMERA'TION, Lat. numeratio, from numerus, a number.

QUO'TIENT, Lat. quoties, how often, how many times, from quot, how many.

SUBTRACTION, Lat. subtractio, from sub and trahere, to draw from under.

U'NIT, Lat. unus, one.

ZE'RO, Arabic cifrun, empty, cipher.

* * * * *


[1] To teachers who are unacquainted with the original Word-Analysis, the following extract from the Preface to that work may not be out of place:—

"The treatment of the Latin derivatives in Part II. presents a new and important feature, to wit: the systematic analysis of the structure and organism of derivative words, together with the statement of their primary meaning in such form that the pupil inevitably perceives its relation with the root, and in fact makes its primary meaning by the very process of analyzing the word into its primitive and its modifying prefix or suffix. It presents, also, a marked improvement in the method of approaching the definition,—a method by which the definition is seen to grow out of the primary meaning, and by which the analytic faculty of the pupil is exercised in tracing the transition from the primary meaning to the secondary and figurative meanings,—thus converting what is ordinarily a matter of rote into an agreeable exercise of the thinking faculty. Another point of novelty in the method of treatment is presented in the copious practical exercises on the use of words. The experienced instructor very well knows that pupils may memorize endless lists of terms and definitions without having any realization of the actual living power of words. Such a realization can only be gained by using the word,—by turning it over in a variety of ways, and by throwing upon it the side-lights of its synonym and contrasted word. The method of thus utilizing English derivatives gives a study which possesses at once simplicity and fruitfulness,—the two desiderata of an instrument of elementary discipline."

[2] "Etymology," Greek et'umon, the true literal sense of a word according to its derivation, and log'os, a discourse.

[3] "Vocabulary," Latin vocabula'rium, a stock of words; from vox, vocis, a voice, a word.

[4] By the Low German languages are meant those spoken in the low, flat countries of North Germany, along the coast of the North Sea (as Dutch, the language of Holland); and they are so called in contradistinction to High German, or German proper.

[5] For the full definition, reference should be had to a dictionary; but in the present exercise the literal or etymological signification may suffice.

[6] Fen'do, fen'dere, is used in Latin only in composition.

[7] Another mode of spelling defense.

[8] From pass and over, a feast of the Jews instituted to commemorate the providential escape of the Jews to Egypt, when God, smiting the first-born of the Egyptians passed over the houses of the Israelites, which were marked with the blood of the paschal lamb.

[9] For the explanation of the etymology see Webster's Unabridged.

[10] For is different from fore, and corresponds to the German ver, different from vor.

A, be, for, ge, are often indifferently prefixed to verbs, especially to perfect tenses and perfect participles, as well as to verbal nouns.—BOSWORTH.

[11] Ster was the Anglo-Saxon feminine termination. Females once conducted the work of brewing, baking, etc., hence brewster, baxter; these words were afterwards applied to men when they undertook the same work. Ster is now used in depreciating, as in trickster, youngster.


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