Etymologies: Word Origins

(learning etymologies can multiply your vocabulary easier than by learning lists of words)

Why learn about word origins or etymologies?

Etymology deals with the origin or derivation of words. When you know the meaning of a Latin or Greek root, prefix, or suffix; you can better understand, and more easily remember, all the vocabulary words built on this Latin or Greek element that exists in English words.

Learn one root and you have the key that will unlock the meanings of up to ten, twenty, or even hundreds of English words in which that Latin and/or Greek element (prefix, root, and suffix) appears; for example, learn ego (Latin, "I") and you will immediately have a grasp of the meanings of egocenric, egomaniac, egoist, egotist, and alter ego; all of which will expand your vocabulary.

Again, learn anthropos (Greek, "mankind") and you will quickly understand, and rarely forget, anthropology, misanthropy, anthropoid, anthropocentric, anthropomorphic, philanthropy, and anthropophobia. Meet any word with -anthropo- in it and you will have at least some idea of its meaning when it is presented in a vocabulary list.

In the etymological approach to building vocabulary words:

  • You will learn about Latin and Greek prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
  • You will be able to figure out unfamiliar English words by recognizing their etymological (true) structure, the building blocks from which they are constructed.
  • You will be able to construct many English words correctly by learning to put these building blocks together in the proper way.
  • You will be able to literally determine the meanings of thousands of English words that you have never seen before and which are used in many fields of knowledge.
  • You will develop a keener interest in English words.
  • You will obtain a greater insight as you explore Latin and Greek words and appreciate and experience the wonder of these words.
  • You will acquire many new words and remember them much longer than you can by just learning unrelated word lists.
  • If you are preparing for an examination in which questions about English vocabulary words are a significant part of your score, you will find that learning the etymologies of words is a much better way to learn most of the English words you will encounter.

Learn how to deal with etymologies of English words and you will feel comfortable with such words; you will use new words with self-assurance, you will be able to figure out the meanings of the English vocabulary words you hear or read even if you have never heard or seen these words before.

That is why the best approach to learning new vocabulary words is through their etymologies; as you will discover for your self, as soon as you start to work with the lists of Latin and Greek Cross References available for your use in this Word Info website.

"Rooting Around" with Etymology.

Unit of etym- words.