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Oct 31, 2016
This week’s theme
Words made with combining forms

This week’s words
hippology
hypogeal
xerophilic
steganography
nidicolous

Gulliver Addressing the Houyhnhnms
Gulliver Addressing the Houyhnhnms
Art: Sawrey Gilpin, 1768

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

I recently came across an unfamiliar word, hippocracy. A rule by horses, I thought, until I realized it was a misspelling of the word hypocrisy. Then I searched Google News and found many examples of this misspelling.

Well, a rule by horses would probably be better than a rule by some men. Don’t take my word for it -- ask Gulliver who has seen both in his travels.

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes an assortment of combining forms to make a language. This week we’ll see words made with various combining forms:

hippo- (horse), hypo- (under), xero- (dry), stego-/stegano- (cover), nidi- (nest)
-logy (study), -geal (earth), -philic (loving), -graphy (writing), -colous (inhabiting)

What words can you make with them?

What are combining forms? You can think of them as Lego (from Danish, leg: play + godt: well) bricks of language. As the term indicates, a combining form is a linguistic atom that occurs only in combination with some other form, which could be a word, another combining form, or an affix (unlike a combining form, an affix can’t attach to another affix).

hippology

PRONUNCIATION:
(hi-POL-uh-jee)

MEANING:
noun: The study of horses.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek hippo- (horse) + -logy (study). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ekwo- (horse), which also gave us equestrian, equitant, hippocampus, hippogriff, and the name Philip (lover of horses). Earliest documented use: 1854.

USAGE:
“Ask them any question about horses, and odds are they know the answer. Three of the club members are preparing for the national hippology bowl.”
Amy J. Wise; Club’s Horse Sense Abounds; The Post and Courier: (Charleston, South Carolina); Mar 23, 1995.

See more usage examples of hippology in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Time engraves our faces with all the tears we have not shed. -Natalie Clifford Barney, poet, playwright, and novelist (31 Oct 1876-1972)

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