Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fallo, fallere, fefelli, falsum--trick, deceive

A fair number of words come from this Latin root, all of which have to do with tricking or deceiving. Something "false" is deceiving, a "fallacious" answer has deviations from the truth, someone who is "infallible" cannot be tricked, and a "fault" in the Earth is a tricky spot from which earthquakes originate, that is, it's not solid, but deceptive. The most interesting etymology with this root is probably the word "faucet:" a faucet does not indicate the ‘true’ flow of water in the pipe, but rather regulates the flow by how much the valve is opened, thereby ‘deceiving’ the user as to its actual flow rate. Check out other word trees at Greek and Latin Roots examples.