Friday, August 15, 2008

#1: Caedo, caedere, cecidi, caesum: to cut, kill

Many, many words come from this prolific Greek and Latin root word. A "decision" is a cutting off of other possibilities to arrive at one, hence, if one is "decisive," one has killed all other options. If one has a great deal of "precision," one cuts beforehand is a skillful way, hence being "precise" by killing off all dubious answers prior to answering. Of course, the suffix "-cide" gives rise to multiplicitous English words, a few of which are listed below:

regicide: killing of a king
homicide: killing of a human
parricide: killing of a parent
fratricide: killing of a brother
sororicide: killing of a sister
uxoricide: killing of a wife
mariticide: killing of a husband
hippopotomonstricide: killing of a gargantuan hippopotamus
rodenticide: killing of a sharp-toothed mammal reeking with halitosis
herbicide: an agent that kills plants (thought I'd be fair to the animal kingdom to include at least one from the sessile demesne)

Moving on from morbidity, one more for this lesson: Julius Caesar:
"Caesar" was either a reference to being reputedly ‘cut’ from his mother’s womb, the first recorded ‘cesarean’ section, or to his “full head of hair,” a jocular cognomen since most busts of Caesar show him to be balding, his hair ‘cut’ away. Anyone out there know the definitive reason, or have alternative explications?

See more English derivatives from "caedo, caedere" at this Greek and Latin roots site. You can also view a Greek and Latin roots poster that contains this word root!   Studying for the SAT or GRE?  Check out, a site that teaches you all the SAT or GRE vocabulary that you need to do well on the verbal section of those tests.