Saturday, January 10, 2009

#2: scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptum: write

Welcome back, etymology fans, to the second entry for the Latin root scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptum: to write. This week I will focus on SAT derivatives that come from one of the more important Latin roots of the English language.

Look at all the following SAT words, all engendered by one simple Latin root and its attendant morphemes:

scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptum: to write

scribe: a person who "writes," or copies, professional documents and manuscripts
nondescript: etymologically "not written about;" that is, of unclear nature or having no individuality
script: a style of "writing," such as handwriting or a particular system of writing
inscribe: to "write," engrave or carve upon a surface
inscription: the product of the inscribing
circumscribe: etymologically to "write around," that is, to draw a line around, hence,
by extension, to limit or restrict or define the boundaries of
circumscription: the state of being circumscribed
transcribe: etymologically to "write across," that is, to make a copy in full of another written
transcription: the product of the transcribing
transcript: an official "writing," such as a record of college courses taken at a university, along
with grades and degree transferred
subscribe: to "write under," thus, by extension, pledge an amount of money, or sign one's name
to, e.g. "subscribing" to the idea of cloning as a plausible answer to immortality of the
prescribe: to "write beforehand;" that is, proffer as a rule or guide of conduct, or make rules to
be followed; most commonly heard as a doctor's suggestion for remedial medicine
prescription: the act of "prescribing," that is, aught prescribed as a rule or law to be followed,
such as a doctor's written document to be shown at a pharmacy

Intrigued by all the affixes, such as prefixes and suffixes, found in the entry above that go with the primary morpheme scribere? Check out this list of Latin roots and list of Greek roots for all the prefixes and suffixes of the English language based on Latin and Greek; you will be simply amazed at what you can find, and how helpful can be when it comes to learning English vocabulary via Greek and Latin roots. In addition to beautiful Greek and Latin root word trees, a striking Greek and Latin roots poster is available, 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 Latin roots SAT word of the day, an entertaining and informative discussion on the wonders of word origin and the fun of the English language.