12 Greek Words You Should Know

Along with Latin, Greek is probably the language that most influenced other languages around the world. Many English words derive directly from Greek ones, and knowing their origin and meaning is important. Below you will find 12 Greek words that are commonly used in our society. The next time you hear someone saying “Kudos to … Read more

12 Words That End in -nym

Most of us are probably familiar with these -nym words: synonym a word that means the same as another word: little/small antonym a word that means the opposite of another word: little/big homonym a word that has the same sound as another word, but differs in meaning: horde/hoard acronym a word formed from the initials … Read more

A Dozen More Bodacious, Dandy and/or Nifty Words

The English language has countless ways to say “Great!” or “Cool!” When people want to sound au courant, fashionable, trendy, or with-it, they often choose slang words that are currently popular in their culture – very informal, unconventional words that may not be found in standard dictionaries, but have a freshness and color that may … Read more

List of Greek Words in the English Language

After French, Latin and Viking (and Old English of course, but that is English), the Greek language has contributed more words to modern English than any other – perhaps 5%. Many Greek words sprang from Greek mythology and history. Knowing those subjects was evidence that a person was educated, so dropping a reference to Greek … Read more

15+ Words with “syn” or a Variation

The Greek prefix syn-, meaning “together,” and two alternative forms combine with many other word elements to form terms pertaining to community or unity. This post lists and briefly defines the most common of these words, along with literal definitions of the root word. 1. idiosyncrasy (“personal” and “blend”): a peculiarity or hypersensitivity 2. synagogue … Read more

12 Words Ending in -logue (or Is It -log?)

What is the correct spelling for words ending with an element derived from the Greek suffix logos, meaning “to speak”? For example, should one refer to an analog, or to an analogue? This post lists and defines words ending in –logue or –log (with prefixes defined and various inflections provided) and provides more detail below … Read more

25 Words Coined by Nineteenth-Century Authors

This post lists a number of words that were introduced to the lexicon by novelists and other writers during the nineteenth century. 1. actualize: Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge came up with this verb form of actual to refer to realizing a goal; self-actualization came much later. 2. airy-fairy: Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, coined this term … Read more

A Handy Guide to Words Starting with Mani-

Several English words are derived from the Latin term manus (the basis of manual), meaning “hand,” but many others are unrelated. Here’s a breakdown of which words starting with mani- have been handed down from Latin and which have differing etymologies. Manipulation is the act of handling something, although the word also has the weighted … Read more

30 Words Containing the Letters “sm”

After writing a post about the suffix -ism, I explored the class of words that include the letters s and m in sequence in which the letters are not a consonant blend (as in small) or in which the s is not at the end of a prefix (as in besmirch and dismiss); with some … Read more

20 Words That Contain “mn”

While looking stuff up, I became curious about how many words include the unusual pairing of m and n, and I discovered more than I had expected. Many more than twenty exist, but I’ve listed only that number (along with their definitions), choosing to exclude several categories of words. (See below for details.) Words ultimately … Read more

12 Signs and Symbols You Should Know

What is the origin of various symbols used in English, and when is the use of each appropriate? Here’s a guide to twelve common signs, including how they developed and in which contexts they are used or avoided. 1. & (Ampersand) The ampersand was, at least until well into the nineteenth century, treated as the … Read more

20 Words for That Certain Something

Some people have it, and some people don’t. But what, exactly, is it? Here’s a list of words describing a special quality that sets certain people apart from others, and their meanings: 1. Brio: vivaciousness (Italian, “fire, life,” perhaps from the word for vigor from a form of French) 2. Charisma: charm or personal magnetism … Read more