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Jun 17, 2013
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
rhizophagous
zymurgy
logomania
plutolatry
otorhinolaryngology

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

I'm rhizophagous: I feed on roots, the roots of words. A root or two every few hours keep me satiated. Some roots are dense -- they have sprouted dozens of offsprings, while others have a small family.

With a knowledge of roots, you can often figure out words you've never seen before. In the same manner, you can use combining forms to coin words. This week we'll see five words made with combining forms. The combining forms we'll use are:
rhizo-, zym-, logo-, pluto-, oto-, rhino-, laryngo-, and
-phagous, -urgy, -mania, -latry, -logy.

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 be attached to another affix.

rhizophagous

PRONUNCIATION:
(ry-ZOPH-uh-guhs)

MEANING:
adjective: Feeding on roots.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek rhizo- (root) + -phagous (feeding on). Earliest documented use: 1832.

USAGE:
"Let us pause briefly in Alsace, a good observatory and outpost in this rhizophagous European realm. ... the Alsatians had very specific ways of using and preparing the tuber."
Madeleine Ferrières; Sacred Cow, Mad Cow: A History of Food Fears; Columbia University Press; 2006.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Since my house burned down / I now own a better view / of the rising moon. -Mizuta Masahide, poet and samurai (1657-1723)

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