carpo-, carp- (cerp-) +

(Latin: to pluck, to pick out, to gather, to select)

The change of Latin "a" to "e" is due to the Latin phonetic law according to which in the unaccented and closed radical syllable of the second element of compounds, original "a" becomes "e".

—Dr. Ernest Klein,
A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language.

Don't confuse this carpo- unit with other unrelated "carpo- units":

Greek carpo- meaning "fruit";

Greek carpo- meaning "wrist".

Ancestors or Latin origins of words in English (carpet, scarce, excerpt):
It appears to be impossible that such far-flung words as carpet, scarce, and excerpt all come from the same Latin verb; however, they do, and their histories show the astonishing and unpredictable way some words have developed.

The word carpet, for example, ultimately derives from the Latin carpo, which meant to "pluck" or to "card" wool, and it is believed that the first carpets were of wooly cloth made of unravelled threads.

Then there is the term scarce, which English inherited from the French escars, "scanty", originally from the Latin ex, "out", and carpo, "pluck". It's like "plucking" from the cookie jar until the cookies become "scanty" and scarce.

Another related word is excerpt, from Latin excerptus (ex, "out" and carpo, "pluck") which refers to something that has been "plucked out" of its context.

The result is that the idea of "plucking" streams through the three widely divergent words just as a scarce thread of color can be woven through the carpet with which this excerpt started.

These basic words and their related forms can be seen in this carpo-, carp- (cerp-) unit of "to pluck, to pick out, to gather, to select" words.

cacoethes carpendi
Compulsive or uncontrollable urge.

A mania for finding fault or an uncontrollable urge to nitpick (trivial, unnecessary, detailed, and often unjustified faultfinding).

This phrase is from cacoëthes carpendi which is derived from kakoethes, a Greek word that combines kakos, "bad", with ethos, "habit"; and which describes any compulsion or uncontrollable urge.

Cacoëthes can be used alone to mean "mania" or "passion", even "disease". With carpendi, a form of carpere, meaning "to pluck", as fruit from a tree, the phrase becomes highly useful in describing the uncontrollable urge to be a nitpicker.

cacoëthes carpendi, cacoethes carpendi (a Latin expression)
1. A strong passion to criticize or a mania for finding fault with others: The project's supervisor allowed his cacoëthes carpendi to get out of control and really offended people on the job site.
2. Etymology: derived from kakoethes, a Greek word that combines kakos, "bad" with ethos, "habit" and describes "any compulsion" or "uncontrollable urge".
Carpe diem (KAHR pey dee" uhm), quam minimum credula postero. (Latin proverb)
Translation: "Seize or take advantage of the day and place no trust in tomorrow."

"Enjoy the present moment and don't depend on there being a tomorrow." -Horace

A continuing traditional theme in lyric poetry, dating back at least to Koheleth's "Eat, drink, and be merry" (based on Ecclesiastes 8:15). The phrase carpe diem exemplifies the spirit of hedonism and Epicureanism, i.e., the enjoyment of the moment and recognition of the transient nature of life.

So, carpe diem came from ancient times until the present with the advice often and variously expressed as: "Enjoy yourself while you have the chance"; "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die"; "Make hay while the sun shines"; "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think."

William Safire had a different attitude regarding carpe diem when he wrote: "Seize the day has come to mean ‘strike while the iron is hot.' No longer is carpe diem the what-the-hell attitude of the dwellers in the present; it has become the battle cry of the gutsy opportunist with an eye on the future."

Many famous poems develop this "live it up now" theme; such as , the following by Robert Herrick (1591-1674):

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying,
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
Carpe diem poster.


Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow.
Carpe noctem.
Seize (take advantage) of the night.

Take advantage of the night and place no trust in tomorrow.

Carpent tua poma nepotes.
Your grandsons (descendants) will gather your apples. —Virgil

"Plan for the future" or Virgil is telling us that hard work and careful management of our existing resources will extend to generations long after we are gone.

carpet, carpeting, carpeted
1. A heavy fabric, commonly of wool or nylon, for covering floors.
2. A covering made of this material.
3. Any relatively soft surface or covering like a carpet: "That evening we walked on a carpet of new mowed grass."
4. Any of a number of airborne electronic devices for jamming radar.
5. To cover or furnish with or as with a carpet.
6. On the carpet, before an authority or superior for an accounting of one's actions or a reprimand: "We were called on the carpet by our boss for our carelessness in processing the credit cards."
7. Chiefly British: under consideration or discussion.
excerpt (s) (noun), excerpts (pl)
1. A section or passage taken from a longer work; such as, a book, a movie, a musical composition, or a document; an extract: Last Sunday, the minister read excerpts from the book of Genesis, in the Bible, to his congregation during his religious sermon.

Mrs. Song played an excerpt from a concerto on her violin to demonstrate that it is an important musical instrument of an orchestra.

2. Etymology: from Latin ex-, "out" + carpere, "to pluck, to pick"; so the Roman word for an extract or a passage from a book or writing was excerptum, "excerpt".
— Compiled from information located in
Reader's Digest Family Word Finder; The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.,
Pleasantville, New York; 1975; page 276.
A passage from a speech, book, film, etc.
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excerpt (verb), excerpts; excerpted; excerpting
1. The action of making selections from a book, manuscript, etc.
2. To take a part from a longer work or to select a section or passage from a longer work; to abridge by choosing representative sections.
excerptible (adjective)
1. That which can be selected or gleaned.
2. An obtainable extract.
3. Having material which can be excerpted or selected.
4. Suitable for making excerpts, extracts, or selections from.
excerption (s) (noun), excerptions (pl)
An excerpt which is selected or gleaned from a written context, etc.
excerptive (adjective)
1. Inclined to excerpt context from published contents, etc.
2. Characterized by excerptions.
excerptor, excerpter (s) (noun); exceptors, excerpters (pl)
Someone who makes excerpts; a picker; a culler.
1. Insufficient to meet a demand or requirement; short in supply: "Fresh meat has become scarce because of so many cattle freezing and starving as a result of the harsh winter."
2. Hard to find; absent or rare: "Silver coins are scarce now except in coin shops."
3. Available in small supply; opposite of abundant.

Usually meaningful only in relative terms, compared to demand and/or to supply at another place or time.

4. Etymology: from about 1297, "restricted in quantity" from Old Norse Frenchk scars (Old French eschars) from Vulgar Latin escarpsus, from excarpere, "to pluck out"; from Latin excerpere, "to pluck out" (see excerpt in this unit).
1. Barely or hardly available.
2. Almost never or by a small margin.

Because scarcely has the force of a negative, its use with another negative, as in "I couldn't scarcely believe it", is regarded as grammatically incorrect.

A clause following scarcely is correctly introduced by when or before; the use of than, though common, is still unacceptable to some grammarians: "The meeting had scarcely begun when it was interrupted." "The class had scarcely started before the 'fire-drill' bell rang"; however, the following is NOT considered acceptable: "The class had scarcely started than the "fire-drill" bell rang."