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A friend of mine (who, as far as I know, doesn't have English as a first language, though is fluent) mentioned how odd it was that English had the word admix, and quoted a dictionary definition that stated that it was a synonym of mix. I supposed that an admix was a mix made just by adding two materials together, whereas a mix involved stirring.

This is the entry I found:

tr. & intr.v. ad·mixed, ad·mix·ing, ad·mix·es
To mix; blend.

Am I right that the word is redundant, or does it have another use?

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Note that a quick google books search brings up mainly concrete and pharmacological references: jargon? –  horatio Sep 19 '12 at 19:44
Have you checked dictionary definitions for both words? What did they say that was the same or different? –  Hugo Sep 19 '12 at 20:56
Related: Admix vs. shuffle –  RegDwigнt Sep 19 '12 at 21:19
There are other English word pairs similarly related – where one word can be used as a synonym for the other, but only a prefix differentiates between the two. For example, join & conjoin, camp & encamp. –  J.R. Sep 20 '12 at 0:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

According to the ODO, admix is being used specifically in technical conversations which is, I grant you, not much of a difference. Its etymology is stated as follows:

late Middle English: back-formation from the obsolete adjective 'admixt', from Latin admixtus 'mixed together', past participle of admiscere, from ad- 'to' + miscere 'to mix'

So your friend should technically have blamed Latin (or its ancestors) rather than English :)

English has a number of such curiosities. The weirdest one I can recall are the words ravel and unravel. The etymology of ravel reads:

1580s, "to untangle, unwind," also "to become tangled or confused," from Du. ravelen "to tangle, fray, unweave," from rafel "frayed thread." The seemingly contradictory senses of this word (ravel and unravel are both synonyms and antonyms) are reconciled by its roots in weaving and sewing: as threads become unwoven, they get tangled.

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If you were to use the word 'admix' instead of the word 'mix' you would confuse people. 'Admix' is an archaic word that is rarely used.

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That's not really what the OP is asking. Admix is not really all that archaic either. It's used as technical terminology as well as a shortened form of the word admixture. –  coleopterist Sep 20 '12 at 3:54
I have never come across the word admix or admixture. I can only assume that its use is very specialised - in other words - that it is a jargon word that is only used in special situations. –  Robin Michael Sep 20 '12 at 9:54
ɑkh ɑhɪm ɑkte wiz bɑɹsu:m May the Peace be with you as you venture forth to planets unknown. –  Robin Michael Sep 20 '12 at 9:58

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