We've been debating whether or not aquamarine is a compound word or not. To me, I view "aqua" as being just a prefix rather than a standalone word, so I don't think aquamarine would be considered to be a compound word.

  • it would be a prefix if it were a prefix, not a suffix. – Oldcat Apr 14 '14 at 17:10
  • Ah yes, I definitely meant prefix. Fixed. – Autotune Apr 14 '14 at 17:12

It comes from the Latin phrase 'aqua marina' meaning 'water of the sea'. So it would be a compound word, either in Latin or when coined, rather than a prefix.

For it to be a prefix, it would have to be a type of marina, modified to be related to water. It is a gemstone. And all marinas are water related.

  • 1
    I can see it being a compound word in Latin, but would it still be considered to be a compound in English? – Autotune Apr 14 '14 at 17:27
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    If the Romans did the compounding, then I would say no. But not because aqua- is a prefix, but because the word was imported in one package. – Oldcat Apr 14 '14 at 17:47
  • And if the Romano-Brits did the compounding? 'Aquamarine' seems to be in the grey area. I liked it better the way it was. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 '14 at 19:53

Yes it is a compound word and it is from this compound dictionary: Compounding in the English language; . Ball, Alice Morton.

List of compound words that begin with aqua:







  • I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Could you please add some explanation? – Bradd Szonye Apr 14 '14 at 18:23

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