Topics related to the Greek roots of English, Greek loanwords, and etymologies thereof.

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30 views

Can penult stress for “stigmata” and similar words be explained or justified by any principle?

I enjoy studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There appear to be two possible pronunciation patterns for words ending in the plural suffix -ata ...
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0answers
13 views

Can the stress pattern of “uroboros/ouroboros” be explained by any principle, or is it random?

The word "uroboros," coming ultimately from Greek, has a couple of spellings and also pronunciations (see How to do you pronounce Ouroboros?). As explained by Nohat in the linked page, the two ...
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3answers
47 views

Is there a list of English words where some of their letters can be replaceed with Greek letters? [on hold]

Is there a list of English words where some of their letters can be replaceed with Greek letters? for example the word Archive can be written as arXve, where X is the Greek letter chi.
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of the ending “‑exia”?

If a word ends in -exia (such as dyslexia, anorexia, and pyrexia), does this imply anything about the word itself? For example, in electronics a word ending in ‑ance (such as impedance or ...
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2answers
64 views

Sword of Damocles

In an amusing Greek parable, Dionysius II teaches his courtier Damocles that luxury and wealth also come with responsibility and peril. This has given rise to the term Sword of Damocles. However, ...
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1answer
74 views

Why is φύσις often used for “body” in today’s English?

The Greek root φύσις means natural or of nature, but in present-day English it is often used as if it meant bodily or of the body: a physical examination physiotherapy physique Why is the root ...
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1answer
125 views

What is the Pluto equivalent of geocentric? [closed]

A satellite going around the earth is in geocentric orbit. The Earth is in a heliocentric orbit about the sun. Something going around Mars is areocentric. What about the moons of Pluto? ...
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3answers
114 views

Why Greek morphemes over Latin, or Latin over Greek? *A Call to Lexicographers*

Is there a rationale behind why certain English words take Greek morphemes (or affixes) over Latin morphemes, and vice versa? Why do certain Greek morphemes become standard English idiom over Latin ...
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5answers
5k views

How did phobia ever come to mean hatred?

I understand the word 'phobia' to mean an irrational fear of something, tracing its roots to the Greek word ῾φοβια᾽ associated with flight, dread, or terror. How then did this word ever come to ...
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3answers
107 views

Etymology of “amoral”

Many internet sites (like this one) say that the word amoral was coined by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) as a differentiation from immoral. These sites also say that amoral comes from the Greek ...
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1answer
35 views

Is there a collateral adjective for 'game'?

I was looking for an adjective that would describe anything game-like that is either taken directly from Ancient Greek or Latin. 'Ludic' comes to mind, but it came to assume the same connotations as ...
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1answer
84 views

Neoclassical Neologisms [closed]

Could anybody give me a few interesting examples of neologisms of Latin or Greek origin, or containing affixes from Latin or Greek which are popular nowadays but haven't entered the dictionaries yet? ...
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1answer
70 views

Word referring to the structure and shape of leaves

I'm looking for a word which refers to the structure and shape of leaves or the study thereof, probably with a prefix like phyllo-. 'Phyllomorphy', which was my first guess, isn't it, and I think ...
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2answers
95 views

What are the plural forms of the words “octopus” and “platypus”? [duplicate]

I've seen "octopuses" and "platypuses", respectively, but I've also seen "octopi" and"platypi". Which is correct, and why?
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1answer
90 views

Origin of the word “Thesaurus” [closed]

Thesaurus (Treasure) Origin from old Greek or Albanian language -> Thesari(in Albanian) - Treasure (in English). The word Thesari was build from two words in Albanian; Thes(in Alb)- Bag, + Ari or ...
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3answers
191 views

What's the word for Self Reflection?

There's a Greek (maybe Latin) word for when you reflect on your work. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? For instance, this would be used to describe a essay that you write to look back and ...
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2answers
368 views

Mycorrhizae: how the heck do you say “zae” in greek?

So, I'm trying to sound smarter than the people to whom I'm pontificating about no-till gardening, and I'd like to include a pronunciation of "mycorrhizae" (which is, of course the plural of ...
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1answer
180 views

Etymology of “hysteresis”

Wikipedia (correctly IMHO) defines hysteresis as the dependence of the output of a system not only on its current input, but also on its history of past inputs. The dependence arises because the ...
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1answer
131 views

What are antonym-like prefixes to the Greek “crypto”?

What is a prefix that is similar to "public", or "accessible", or "ubiquitous" such that it is harmonious with the spirit of currency needing to be of public domain, widely adopted, accessible, etc. ...
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1answer
285 views

If pogonotrophy means to grow a beard, is there a term for shaving a beard?

If pogonotrophy means "to grow a beard", is there a term for shaving a beard? How would you use pogonotrophy in a sentence? And if there is an antonym for this word, how would you use it in a ...
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1answer
66 views

Plural of “dibamus” [closed]

Dibamus is a genus of legless lizards in the family Dibamidae, of the infraorder Dibamia. Genera are usually given in singular, so what is the correct plural of Dibamus? Families and orders are ...
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2answers
409 views

Which is the correct plural of Atlas? [closed]

Good evening, in a "creative writing" course this question was brought up. Some of my classmates argued the plural form is "Atlas" because the word comes from Latin. Others favored "Atlases". What is ...
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2answers
2k views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [closed]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
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0answers
24 views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [duplicate]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
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2answers
393 views

Does syllabus derive from Greek or Latin?

I'm looking for some hard evidence to determine whether syllabus is a word that derives from Greek or Latin. This came about from a discussion asking whether the plural of syllabus is "syllabuses" or ...
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1answer
106 views

substitute for peripeteia

I was all set to release an album titled Peripeteia. I thought the word aesthetically sounded beautiful and the meaning, reversal of reality, "the moment the hero realizes all he believes is untrue" ...
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2answers
3k views

Rhetoric vs. Mathematics: ellipsis/ellipse, parable/parabola, hyperbole/hyperbola

Do ellipsis, parable, and hyperbole from rhetoric have anything in common with the geometric curves ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola used in mathematics? There are three geometric curves known as ...
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3answers
106 views

Is the word 'psychoanalysis' correctly constructed from its components?

The big question is, where does the 'o' come from? A small band of people have apparently stuck firmly to 'psychanalysis', which is similar to the French 'psychanalyse'. It's dealt with very ...
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3answers
406 views

Did “didactic” go through Latin before arriving in English or did it come directly from Greek?

Did the word didactic go through Latin before arriving in English? How could it not have? Yet Websters says it came to English directly from Greek! I think they are wrong. There is a Latin word, ...
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4answers
1k views

What is the formal plural of the word theorem?

The word theorem comes from late Latin theōrēma and the Greek θεώρημα . If one wanted a plural form other than theorems that reflected its etymology, what would it be? I understand the standard ...
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1answer
200 views

Plato(n) and similar masculine names

What is the etymology of dropped -n in ancient (Greek masculine) names ending with -on? I mean Plato, Pluto, etc. Curiously, the "n" is still preserved in derived words, like platonic or plutonic. ...
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1answer
50 views

Is it right to say that “they have their utopia starting when they see a plate of food and water” [closed]

I have to do a presentation about a third world country next week and I started writing down what I am going to say and I am stuck in the introduction! I am speaking Greek and this phrase make sense ...
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1answer
21k views

Plural for “photo”?

What's the proper plural for "photo" - "photos", "photoes", or it is generally desired to rephrase the whole thing and stick with "photographs", "images", "shots", "pictures", etc? As for usage ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference between the prefix iso and homo

I haven't found a ancient Greek site on stack exchange, so i hope it is ok to ask it here: What is the difference between 'iso-' and 'homo-'? Do they both mean 'same'? For example: isotope, isomer, ...
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2answers
147 views

adjective for “related to monogamy”

The "monogamous lifestyle" is a strange word, because lifestyles are not known to be married. I wonder whether a word like "*monogamial" or similar acts in a more appropiate way.
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4answers
701 views

What’s the male equivalent of “menopause”? [closed]

If women go through men-o-pause, do men go through women-o-pause? Is there an etymological equivalent? What is the antonymic Greek word to meno- (or rather, to μηνο-)? There might be a medical ...
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4answers
8k views

Why is “pound” (of weight) abbreviated “lb”?

Answers to Correct usage of lbs. as in "pounds" of weight suggest that "lb" is for "libra" (Latin), but how has this apparent inconsistency between the specific unit of weight "pound" and ...
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3answers
401 views

Term for converting to black&white

Is there a single word to denote reducing the color palette of an image to two colors: black and white? For instance, navy becomes black and beige turns into white. I know there is desaturate, but ...
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6answers
1k views

“para-” in words like “paraglider” and “parabrake”

As is well known, para-, in its meaning of "alongside or beyond", is derived from Greek loanwords such as paraphrase and parasite, while its meaning of "against" is derived from the Latin "be ...
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1answer
1k views

Etymology of “Utopia”; counterintuitive

How did the word "Utopia" (coined by Sir Thomas More) come to mean an ideal place when the Greek etymology specifically means "Not a place." Relatedly, while this might be the prime use of the word ...
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2answers
5k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
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2answers
2k views

Can we determine a proper verb form of “exegesis” for Biblical scholars to use?

This is related to a conversation here in EL&U SE. Apparently the noun exegete is being used as verb in religious circles. For Biblical Scholars, the word exegesis carries with it a connotation ...
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2answers
3k views

Quintology or Pentalogy?

Recently I was looking at the X-Men box set and saw that currently five have been released. I had it in my head that these would be called a quintology but I have seen them being called a pentalogy. ...
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4answers
2k views

Plural form of Octopus and Radius [duplicate]

I have recently found this video online from Merriam Webster saying the plural form of octopus is in fact octopuses. The video explains how octopus comes from the Greek language and thus it would be ...
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1answer
740 views

Pronunciation of onomatopoeia, pharmacopoeia, etc

Words such as onomatopoeia and pharmacopoeia incorporate the Greek suffix -poeia, meaning to make or to prepare. Wiktionary's provided etymology for onomatopoeia reads: From Ancient Greek ...
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1answer
285 views

What's the second part of the word “colophon”? [closed]

According to Wiktionary and Etymonline, I only find the ultimate Greek word "κολοφών", leading to my question. The first part of "colophon" is "colo-", which derives from PIE *kolən-, *koləm-. I ...
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2answers
275 views

What are the differences between the etymology of “ingenious” and “ingenuous”? [closed]

As a matter of fact, I don't know whether there is any difference between the source words in bold below: From Latin ingeniosus (“endowed with good natural capacity, gifted with genius”), from ...
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3answers
12k views

What is the difference between “Hept-” and “Sept-” prefixes?

As I understand it, both the prefixes "Hept-" and "Sept-" are used to indicate seven of something. We have examples of English words that use both: e.g. Heptathalon, Heptagon, Heptane vs ...
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2answers
335 views

Is “apocrypha” plural? [closed]

Is "apocrypha" plural? These are extra-canonical books of the Bible. Is a singular one called an apocryphum or apocryphon or something like that?
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2answers
621 views

Etymology of “magma” in abstract algebra

Magma is one of those beautiful words of Greek origin (μάγμα) that arouses the child and the wild in me, making me think of volcanoes. I just found out, though, that it is also used in mathematics to ...