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A.Word.A.Day--coadunate

Pronunciation RealAudio

coadunate (ko-AJ-uh-nit, -nayt) adjective

United by growth; closely joined.

[From Late Latin coadunatus, past participle of coadunare, to combine, a compound word from Latin co- (together) + ad- (toward) + unus (one).]

Coadunate ultimately derives from Indo-European *oi-no, meaning one, unique. Less obvious words derived from this root include anon, atone, lonely, eleven, ounce and inch. The lowly onion may also be in this family, conceived as a unity formed of many layers.

"I descend from my high home in the Financial District to plunge into the coadunate streams of pedestrians ..."
Leah Garchik; Personals; San Francisco Chronicle; Jun 25, 1993.

This week's Guest Wordsmith, Stewart Edelstein writes:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. defined "word" as "the skin of a living thought". Languages now spoken in such far-flung places as Iceland, Afghanistan, Europe, Russia, and northern India first found expression in Indo-European, a reconstructed language dating back several thousand years (the asterisk before Indo-European root words indicates that they are reconstructed rather than recorded). As language evolved, a living thought was manifested in a cluster of related words, just as siblings and cousins share a common genetic makeup, but each has a distinct physiognomy.

Etymologists refer to words based on a common root as doublets, a subject I have studied for more than ten years. I've collected hundreds of seemingly incompatible dyads with common roots, such as alcohol/artichoke, bagel/buxom, and window/nirvana. This week we look at a subset of doublets, focusing on words based on numbers, but not obviously so.

(Stewart Edelstein is an attorney and the author of Dubious Doublets: A Delightful Compendium of Unlikely Word Pairs of Common Origin, from Aardvark/Porcelain to Zodiac/Whiskey.)

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