Saturday, August 30, 2008

#2: forma: shape

On with more formative information on one of the more prolific Latin roots, forma. There are many different forms, or "shapes," in which this word is used, often as the suffix "-form". Aught cruciform is "shaped" like a cross (via the Latin crux, crucis: cross), whereas writing that is cuneiform is wedgelike in "shape" (via the Latin cuneus: wedge). Numerous anatomical descriptive terms use this suffix: penniform means "shaped like a wing or feather" (via the Latin penna: feather, wing), reniform is "shaped" like a kidney (cf. renal, pertaining to a kidney), arciform is "shaped" like an arch, plexiform is "shaped" like a network (such as in the retina of the eye), and pisiform is "shaped" like a pea, referring to a small bone of the 2o6 in the body (originally 350; many fuse in the odyssey towards adulthood). For more information on the roots used with the suffix "-form," check out .
Can a formula be deformed? Consider first what a formula is: a formula in mathematics is an
equation which gives ‘shape’ to a rule or fact. Something deformed in most cases refers to something "shaped from or down from" the way it should look, usually referring to something physical; so, an incorrect "formula" could be malformed, or "shaped badly," referring to no known rule or fact, or a warping thereof, a malignant serendipity, as it were. Imagine a scientist or mathematician, after having been misinformed or disinformed by such a rogue formula, attempting to apply it to solve the world's problems; after formatting it, or shaping it with countless myriads of data, his misguided and insidious formulaic approach would have to undergo a vast reformation, or "shaping again" after it wreaked vast havoc upon the fragile planet; any future attempts at world-saving schemes would have to be placed under the strictest reformatory preconformations before being allowed to be used on a Universal scale. Let us be glad that no Platonic Form, or Idea, ever took shape that embodied this aforementioned malformed formula. For more Greek and Latin root words examples, see this Greek and Latin roots site, at which you can see one of its Latin roots, forma, in all of its informative glory. 
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