Thursday, March 16, 2006

Useful Word Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes -TT

Joan Suggests Thirteen Quick Ways to Increase Your Vocabulary

A couple of weeks ago, Carol of The Median Sib wrote her Thursday Thirteen about words that make a person seem smarter than he or she is. Terrell (Alone on a Limb) wrote a comment about Carol's post and told of teaching his fourth grade students to spell the longest word in Webster's Third (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcannoconiosis.) They do it by learning all the roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Learning just a few word roots and a few prefixes and suffixes helps a reader learn hundreds of words. Long words are sometimes the easiest because they are a combination of several prefixes, suffixes and root words.

Here are a few root words for you to review:

1. scrib/script means "to write". If you know this one you can figure out that inscription mean something written in; prescribe means to write out before; scribble means something related to writing; a scribe is a writer;
2. sect/sec means "to cut". Knowing this root helps you to understand: intersect means to cut across; dissect means to cut apart; a section is a cut-away portion.
3. therm/thermo means heat. Therefore, thermal means holding heat; thermoelectric and thermometer become easy to figure out.
4. duc/duct means to lead or pull. It follows then that abduct means to pull or lead away; an aquaduct leads or pulls water.
5. dict/dic means to speak. Predict, then, means to speak before; malediction means speaking bad or evil; diction is a manner of speaking; verdict is true speaking.
6. cred is to believe. Credible and incredible are obvious; credentials are what makes you believable; credence is believability; incredulous is the state of not believing.
7. bene is a versatile one. It means good or well. A benefactor is a person who does good things for one; beneficial means good for you; benediction is a good saying; a benefit is a good result.
8. chron means time: chronology is something that is time-ordered; chronic is done time after time; an anachronism is something that is done out of its appropriate time.
9. cid/cide means to kill or to cut. fratricide is the killing of a brother; an incision is a cutting into; circumcision is a cutting around (ouch!); and excision is a cutting away.

In the same way, knowing some prefixes and suffixes allows the reader and listener to add to meanings of words. Here are some very useful prefixes:

10.anti- = against or the opposite of: antisocial, antiseptic, antibody; antifreeze
11. ante - = before: anteroom, antebellum, antecedent (bellum=war; cede=goes)
12. mal- = bad or badly. So we can deduce the meaning of malabsorption, maladroit, maladjustment, malcontent and malformation (also see malediction in #5)
13. omni- = all or always: omnipresent, omnipotent, omnivorous.

(Disclaimer: I was rushed trying to get ready for my trip when I wrote this. If you see errors, please be kind!)

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