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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.

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.

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.

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.

—Information for these vocabulary groups came from
Words Come in Families by Edward Horowitz, PhD.;
Hart Publishing Company, Inc.; New York; 1977; pages 16-24.


Pointing to English words for our modern age from Latin Greek sources English words for a Modern Age, especially those from Latin Greek sources or etymologies (prefixes,roots, suffixes).

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