English is an ever evolving language and it’s almost impossible for anybody to learn all the words of English Language. However, the fact that every word in English language has a history, is the key to understand the basic meaning of most of the words. If you learn the meaning of the basic root on which the word is built, then even if you come across an entirely new word which you haven’t read before, you will still be able to infer its meaning. For e.g. you must have read the word ‘aquarium’ meaning “a transparent tank of water in which fish and other water creatures and plants are kept”. It is built on the Latin root “aqu-” or “aqua” meaning “water”. So, next time you see any word having “aqua” you will easily understand that its meaning is related to water. The more you focus your approach to learn various roots, the better your vocabulary will become.Here is an initial list of simple words derived from same Latin root “a-“ meaning “not/ without”:
- asocial – “a-” + social = a person who does not like to be social i.e. avoids contact with others and is completely indifferent to the interests or welfare of the society. Example- an asocial and grumpy artist lives alone on the top floor.
- amoral – “a-” + moral = having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong. Example- He is amoral, selfish person pursuing his own goals.
- apathy – “a-“+ pathy (from Greek root pathos meaning ‘feeling’) = lack of feeling or emotion; lack of interest. Example- People have shown a surprising apathy towards cleanliness.
- amorphous – “a-” + morphous (from Greek root morphḗ meaning ‘form or shape’)= without any form or shape; shapeless. Example- Some religions believe in amorphous God.
- asymmetry – “a-” + symmetry = without any symmetry. Example- It is difficult to find the area of an asymmetrical figure.
- atheist – “a-” + theist (from Greek root theós meaning ‘God ‘)= One who does not believes in the existence of God. Example- It is almost impossible to convince an atheist to believe in the existence of God.
- agnostic – “a-“+ gnostic (from Greek root gnōstós meaning ‘to know’) = person who is doubtful of existence of God; someone who does not know and isn’t sure whether God exists.
- alteration – process or act of changing something (to other). Example- You will have to make alteration to your plans in order to be present at the meeting.
- alternate – Skip one and take the other. Example- I play golf on alternate Saturdays.
- altruist – One who is concerned with the welfare of others. Other Forms: Altruistic actions look towards the benefit of others. Altruism is the philosophy practiced by altruists.
- alternative – other option or choice. Example- I am not sure if my answer is correct, the alternatives were very confusing.
- altercation– It is a fight with words i.e. a verbal dispute because you have other opinion than the person on the other side. Example- She indulged into an altercation with her neighbor.
- Alter ego – “alter” + ego (Latin root ego meaning ‘I or self’)= Someone who is so close to you that you both are mirror images of each other. You do same things, react similarly, etc. Example- No doubt, my best friend is my alter ego.
- ego -The opinion that you have about yourself.
- egoist -a selfish person who may hurt others for self-advancements.
- egoism – feeling that individual self-interest is the action motive of all conscious actions.
- egotist – a person who believes that he is better, more important, more talented, etc. than others and likes to talk about himself in every conversation.
- egotism – the feeling which egotist has.
- egocentric – One who considers himself to be the center of the universe and is an extreme form of egoist.
- egocentricity– caring too much about yourself and not about other people.
- egomaniac – A person who carries egoism to such an extent that his/her needs, desires and interests becomes a form of mental illness.
- egomania– quality or state of being egomaniac.The egoist or egotist personality may sound rude, the egocentric is intolerable but the egomaniac may prove to be dangerous.
By: Pritha Tyagi,
The Author has a B.Tech in Computer Science & Engineering from Radha Govind Group of Institutions, Meerut