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Sep 22, 2014
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
fissiparous

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

There's an effort to make cellphones modular. Instead of discarding the old phone just to get a better camera, you could swap only the camera with a new model. Or pluck a broken speaker and replace it with a new one. While the goal is admirable, I'm skeptical. A tight integration of components is the price one has to pay for a phone that fits in the shirt pocket and yet does everything except walk the dog.

There's no such limitation with words. There's no limit to how long a word can be. For this reason, it's easy to form new words by combining building blocks, that are called, appropriately, combining forms. Mix and match. Fit and experiment. And use them as much as you like -- words don't run out of batteries.

This week we'll look at five words made from the following combining forms:
fissi-, tele-, xero-, dactylo-, pluto-
-parous, -logy, -philous, -scopy, -mania.
What words can you make with them?

fissiparous

PRONUNCIATION:
(fi-SIP-uh-ruhs)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Tending to break into parts.
2. Reproducing by biological fission.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin fissi- (cleft) + -parous (bearing, producing). Earliest documented use: 1835.

USAGE:
"Some reckon it is even too late to achieve the more modest goals of bringing the fissiparous rebel groups under a single command structure."
Barack Obama's Tentative Step; The Economist (London, UK); Jun 22, 2013.

See more usage examples of fissiparous in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

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