Sunday, November 2, 2008

#3: medius: middle; in the middle; in half

Welcome back to my third and final exciting rendition of a Latin roots adjective that gives rise to many English vocabulary words--the Latin root word medius: middle, in the middle, in half. Certainly of no mediocre importance in the rich history of word origins that gives rise to English vocabulary words, its importance as a Latin root word can be viewed in its immediate and unmitigated glory at this Greek and Latin root words venue by gongoozling (no lorgnette required) at the medius tree, where you will see related Greek and Latin roots (for a detailed history of word origin in regards to Greek and Latin root words, please visit my Introduction to Word Origin at ). The word list of English medius derivatives is quite extensive, and includes much GRE and SAT vocabulary, including SAT prep words and GRE prep words.
Before I continue in medias res (that is, in the "middle" of things, used usually to refer to a trope in epics in which the action begins chronologically in the "middle" of the story), let's take a look again at the related words to medius:

Medius—middle, in the middle, in half {mezz}
Medialis—of the middle {medal}
Medianus—central {mean}
Dimidius—half {demi}
Semi--half (Latin, not related to medius)
Hemi--half (Greek, not related to medius)

Billy stands in aesthetic arrest before the stained glass representation of the colossus, Fontagerus, that great statistician who not only could divulge the mean and median of the most dizzying sets of numbers by merely glancing at them, but could also reveal the Golden Mean of any set of words or mundane circumstances; he is sure that Morgan will be impressed by this ancestor of his, leading him to the glory of her admiration...but wait, no! Remembering his disaster at the French restaurant after he had learned all about French cuisine, he ruminated to himself that perhaps Morgan would ask him to slice through all the kinds of data Fontagerus could...could he, Billy, discover the mean, or "middle" of a group of numbers, or a median, that halfway point of the whole set of numbers? And he really didn't even fathom the Aristotelian Golden Mean...what if she asked him to explicate that most abstruse of concepts, or even to apply it? He was no Hegelian, able to synthesize apparent opposites into a unified whole. In a cold sweat, Billy left Greenwich, that oh-so-hallowed town along the Prime Meridian, in a mathematical cloud of unknowing...
On a dark, tenebrous night within the deepest recesses of Paris, Billy walks in despair, knowing not that which to do, but knowing that indeed his heart mimicked the gloom through which he was aimlessly perambulating. Oh to be walking with the demigoddess Morgan now! For surely she, of all, was "half" divine; much like the demimortal Fontagerus...but how could Billy prove himself? Moping thus through a thick haze of beleaguered emotion thoughts, suddenly, out of the eldritch pitchiness approached a dark figure, ensconced within the demimonde, or "half-world," that shadowy world that exists outside the "normal" world of reality, and lives within the gloomy recesses of night. Billy, unsure although eager after his encounter with the Tatterdemalion, stood still as the figure approached...pulling back a cowl of black, radiant golden hair cascaded forth, white teeth gleamed, and a single word escaped from the scarlet lips of the tantalizing demimondaine: demitasse?
As Billy and Panfloss sat at the Proast cafe, the decor of words of the great Proust amazingly filling every inch of wall space of the massive establishment, drinking their "half" cups of strong black java, Billy was surprised that Panfloss was masquerading as a denizen of the Parisian demiworld; Panfloss, white teeth gleaming in the flickering flares of the lamps of the cafe, seemingly unaffected (stainwise) by the thick, rich Proastian roast, said, provocatively, that not only was she not a demirep, or one of only "half" a reputation, but rather that she had been following up on Billy's attempts to find his relatives, and had located, within the deepest depths of the demimonde of Paris a relative that would not only astound the world of music, but would put Morgan at Billy's beck and call. Tired no more, boosted by the Proast roast, Billy, lit up by this revelation, quivering only partly because of the 16 cups downloaded (why are they so small, anyway?), spasmodically and only somewhat jerkily cracklingly exited.
Billy and Panfloss entered the doors of the abandoned building, three white doors framed by the darkest ebony he had ever seen. Within all was dusty, but, in the middle of a great hall, a piano stood upon the floor. Billy approached, and, within the seat, found a sheaf of papers, upon which he read:
"The last will and testament of Franz Fontagerus Liszt, the long-fingered phenom. I, who can play a demisemiquaver (a 1/2 of a 1/2 of an eighth note, or a 1/32nd note) and a hemisemidemiquaver (a‘½’ of a ‘½’ of a ‘½’ of an eighth note, or a ‘1/64th note’) at such a speed that not even human hearing can ascertain them all, have dissolved into light, like that of the Music Master in Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi (a, anachronistic quibblers, delight!); I have been imbued with music, which has transmogrified my life force into that of music itself, being thereby no longer fit for the gross materialistic nature of this life."
Amazed by this development, Billy peered within the recesses of the great man's room of music, only to discover something amazing...not only the original manuscripts of the Paganini and Transcendental Etudes of Liszt, but also the Metapaganini Etudes, written in notes of translucent blue flame, five times faster than those notes meant for the human ear alone. Here, indeed, within the deepest confines of the underworld of Paris lay the secret for unveiling the genius of Liszt, and winning the heart of the Unwinnable One. Panfloss's teeth gleamed in the azure glow of the metatranshemisemidemiquavers, and Billy's heart began to glow as well, his eyes radiant with the lambent glow of the beautiful notes and the beatific image burned into his brain.

A striking Greek and Latin roots poster is available which contains this most non-mediocre Latin root, and numerous other Greek and Latin root words, based upon Word Empire III: Clarity, the most comprehensive Greek and Latin roots dictionary available. To discover a daily SAT vocabulary word and a Onceler word, please check out Magister Brunner's Greek and Latin roots word of the day, an entertaining and informative discussion on the wonders of word origin and the fun of the English language.