Although Latin is no longer part of the general curriculum, it persists in so many mottos and expressions that everyone probably knows a few words.
One commonly known Latin word is homo (“man”). Many Bible translations quote Pilate’s comment about Jesus in Latin: “Ecce Homo!” (“Behold the Man”).
And of course, anyone who has ever had a basic science course has learned the name of the modern human species: Homo sapiens (“Man the Wise”).
The first time I heard the word homosexual and learned its meaning, I assumed that the prefix homo– meant “man” since the word refers to a relationship between men. Only later did I learn the difference between Latin homo (“man”) and a Greek homo (>homos “same”). NOTE: “Man” in Greek is anthropos.
The word homosexual entered English via a translation of Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis. The second part of the word, sexual, is from a Late Latin word. Mixing Latin and Greek elements in this way annoyed another student of human sexuality:
” ‘Homosexual’ is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it.” –H. Havelock Ellis, “Studies in Psychology,” 1897
Here are some other “homo” words you may come across in your reading.
homoerotic [hō’mō-ĭ-rŏt’ĭk] 1 Of or concerning homosexual love and desire. 2.Tending to arouse such desire.
homoeroticism hō’mō-ĭ-rŏt’ĭ-sĭz’əm] – A homoerotic quality or theme.
homogamous [hō-mŏg’ə-məs) – 1.Having one kind of flower on the same plant. 2.Having stamens and pistils that mature simultaneously.
homogamy (hə′mäg·ə·mē) (biology) Inbreeding due to isolation. (botany) Condition of having all flowers alike.
homograph [hŏm’ə-grăf’, hō’mə-] Homographs are words with different pronunciation, meanings and origins but the same spelling. They are not to be confused with homonyms or homophones.
homogeneous [hō’mə-jē’nē-əs, -jēn’yəs] 1.Of the same or similar nature or kind: “a tight-knit, homogeneous society” (James Fallows). 2.Uniform in structure or composition throughout. 3.Mathematics. Consisting of terms of the same degree or elements of the same dimension.
homogenise/homogenize (hə-mŏj’ə-nīz’, hō] 1.To reduce to particles and disperse throughout a fluid. 2.To make uniform in consistency, especially to render [milk] uniform in consistency by emulsifying the fat content.
homonym [hŏm’ə-nĭm’, hō’mə-] – The same name or word used to denote different things.
homophile [hō’mə-fīl’] coined 1960 to describe homosexuals in sociological and cultural terms as opposed to sexual behavior only. 1.Gay or lesbian. 2.Actively concerned with the rights of gay men or lesbians.
homophobia [hō’mə-fō’bē-ə] coined 1969 to describe reactions to efforts of homosexuals to gain mainstream representation. 1.Fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men. 2. Behavior based on such a feeling. (related words homophobe, homophobic)
homophone [hŏm’ə-fōn’, hō’mə-] – One of two or more words, such as night and knight, that are pronounced the same but differ in
meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling.
homoplasy [hō’mə-plā’sē, -plăs’ē, hŏm’ə-] n. – Correspondence between parts or organs arising from evolutionary convergence.
homoplastic [hō’mə-plăs’tĭk, hŏm’ə-] – 1.Of, relating to, or exhibiting homoplasy. 2.Of, relating to, or derived from a different individual of the same species: a homoplastic graft.