Word Groups: Allos, Alter; Ambul; Arch; and Bell
Latin and Greek families of words
Many English words come from closely related family groups
Word group: Greek allos, "other"; and Latin alter, "other"
People, being basically gregarious by nature, like to live in the company of groups of people who are like themselves. They feel threatened by people and things other than those they are accustomed to.
Some "other" words may also have negative undertones.
- altruism: Concern for the welfare of others, acting in an unselfish way to help others.
- alien: Belonging to another country, a foreigner, an outsider; strange to, not natural.
- allergy: Reacting in a way other than usual; sensitiveness to certain foods, animals, pollen, etc.
- alter: To make different, to change.
- alternative: Another possibility, another choice.
- alter ego: Another self; a very close friend.
- alias: Another name; an assumed name.
- alternate: To follow one thing with another; to take turns.
- allegory: A story in which the people, the objects, and the events are symbols that have other meanings.
Word group: Latin ambulare, "to walk, to move"
How do we get from ambul which is clearly related to the action of walking, to the "ambulance" wildly chasing down the street to administer emergency medical care?
The explanation is clear: In days of old, soldiers wounded on the field of battle were just left there to suffer or to die; but in the mid-nineteenth century, the French developed an hopital ambulant. This was simply a mobile hospital whose personnel went out to the battlefield for the wounded soldiers to try to save their lives.
- ambulatory: Able to walk.
- preamble: That which goes before, an introductory statement.
- amble: To walk in a leisurely manner; to move at an easy pace.
- ambulance: A special vehicle for transporting the sick or injured.
- perambulator: A carriage for transporting a baby outdoors.
- somnambulist: A sleepwalker.
Word group: Greek arch, "beginning; the first, the leader, the ruler"
The family of words with the common root arch seems to contain words that are very different from each other; however, they all have something in common: they are all related to the concept of "first".
Being first has two different, but often related, meanings: one meaning indicates first in time; another indicates first in importance.
- monarch: The sole ruler of a state or country.
- archbishop: The chief bishop of a diocese.
- architect: The chief builder or designer.
- archeology; archeologist: The study of ancient civilizations; a scientist who excavates ancient cities.
- hierarchy: A group arranged in order of rank or grade.
- patriarch: The father or ruler of a family or group.
- matriarch: The mother or woman who rkules the family or tribe.
- archdiocese: The district presided over by an archbishop.
- anarchy: Without a leader; absence of government and law.
- archduke: A chief duke.
- archipelago: A sea with a cluster of islands.
- archenemy: Chief enemy.
- archetype: Chief model.
- archaic: Belonging to ancient times; old-fashioned.
- archangel: Chief angel.
Word group: Latin bellum, "war"; bellare, "to wage war"
So important in American history was the Civil War (a.k.a., "The War between the States"), that the Latin nomenclature is still used to give it a special dignity: antebellum which characterizes the period before the start of the Civil War, while postbellum refers to the post-Civil War years.
Too often, wars rarely resolve problems. Many wars have been fought and much blood has been shed; almost always with disastrous results.
- bellicose: Inclined to fighting, hostile, quarrelsome.
- rebel: A person who resists or opposes authority; to revolt.
- belligerent: Engaged in war; a person, group, or nation provoking or engaging in battle; or being hostile, ready to start a fight, or ready to go to war.
This site includes many words that are used in our modern age,, especially those from "Latin-Greek sources".
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