Calder Classics

10 Words to Wow Your Teachers This Fall

Rebekah JunkermeierComment

by Rebekah Junkermeier

For most of us, the end of summer means one thing: back to school. And although it’s always an exciting time of new beginnings, new classes, and new friends, it’s also a time of returning to homework assignments, essays, and papers.

Let Calder Classics lend you a helping hand with the following 10 words to impress your teachers this fall (all definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary). We’ve even included each word’s etymology. Don’t know what that is? Read on. 

1.     Etymology: the history of a word shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language

What is the etymology of etymology?  Latin etymon, origin of a word, in Latin, from Greek etymon, literal meaning of a word according to its origin. Greek etymon from etymos, meaning ‘true.’

2.     Concomitant: accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way

Etymology: Latin concomitant-, concomitans, present participle of concomitari to accompany, from com- + comitari to accompany, from comit-, comes companion.

3.     Hegemony: influence or authority over authors; domination; the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group

Etymology: Greek hegemonia, from hegemon leader, from hegeisthai to lead. 

4.     Fungible: capable of mutual substitution, interchangeable; readily changeable to adapt to new situations, flexible; fluid; malleable

Etymology: Latin verb fungi, meaning "to perform (no relation to the noun "fungus" and its plural "fungi").

5.     Imminent: ready to take place; especially: hanging threateningly over one's head

Etymology: Latin imminent-, imminens, present participle of imminere to project, threaten.

6.     Eminent: standing out so as to be readily perceived or noted; standing above others in some quality or position, prominent

Etymology: Latin imminent-, imminens, present participle of imminere to project, threaten (n.b. although imminent and eminent have very different meanings, they originate from the same Latin verb).

7.     Docile: Easily taught; easily led or managed, tractable

Etymology: Latin docilis, from docere to teach; akin to Latin decere to be fitting.

 8.     Recalcitrant: obstinately defiant of authority or restraint 

Etymology: Late Latin recalcitrant-, recalcitrans, present participle of recalcitrare to be stubbornly disobedient, from Latin, to kick back, from re- + calcitrare to kick, from calc-, calx heel.

9.     Analogous: susceptible of comparison either in general or in some specific detail: showing an analogy or a likeness that permits one to draw an analogy

Etymology: Latin analogus, from Greek analogos, literally, proportionate, from ana- + logos reason, ratio, from legein to gather, speak.

10. Ululate: to howl or wail

Etymology: Latin ululare, to howl, yell, shriek.

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