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Sep 12, 2011
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
iridescent
heterodox
kleptocracy
polymath
necropolis

a soap bubble
An iridescent soap bubble

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

According to an old joke (perhaps a true story), there's this ad in a magazine:

Learn to write novels.
Easy-to-understand instructions.
Send $20.

You send money to the given address and in return they send you a dictionary with the instructions "Some assembly required."

Joke aside, that's all there's to it really, whether you want to write stories, poems, or novels, though learning that assembly takes time and practice, often years.

Writing is crafted by putting together small blocks to make bigger ones, letters to words, words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs, and so on.

This week we'll feature five words made using combining forms.

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).

iridescent

PRONUNCIATION:
(ir-i-DES-uhnt)

MEANING:
adjective: Displaying a rainbow of colors that change when seen from different angles.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin irido- (rainbow), from iris (rainbow, iris plant, diaphragm of the eye), from Greek iris. Iris was the goddess of rainbows in Greek mythology. Earliest documented use: 1794.

USAGE:
"Coast Guard pilots who have flown over the spill describe it as an iridescent sheen on the water."
Travis Griggs; Crist: 'It is in God's Hands'; Pensacola News Journal (Florida); Apr 28, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. -Anne Frank, Holocaust diarist (1929-1945)

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