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Feb 16, 2015
This week’s theme
Words made with combining forms

This week’s words
frankenfood
preternatural
logomaniac
parthenogenesis
bryology

frankenfood
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

According to an old joke (perhaps a true story), there’s this ad in a magazine:

   Learn to write novels.
   Easy-to-understand instructions.
   Send $20.

You send money to the given address and in return they send you a dictionary with the instructions, “Some assembly required.”

Joking aside, that’s all there is to it really—whether you want to write stories, poems, or novels—though learning assembly takes time, often years, besides practice.

Writing is crafted by putting together small blocks to make bigger ones, letters to words, words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs, and so on.

This week we’ll feature five words made using combining forms.

What are combining forms? You can think of them as Lego (from Danish, leg: play + godt: well) bricks of language. As the term indicates, a combining form is a linguistic atom that occurs only in combination with some other form, which could be a word, another combining form, or an affix (unlike a combining form, affixes alone cannot combine to form a word).

Frankenfood

PRONUNCIATION:
(FRANG-kuhn-food)

MEANING:
noun: Genetically modified food.

ETYMOLOGY:
From franken- (genetically modified), alluding to the artificially created Frankenstein’s monster. Earliest documented use: 1992.

USAGE:
“[David Bronner’s] real problem with GMOs has less to do with Frankenfood fears than with the documented effects of herbicide- and pest-resistant GM crops, which were sold as a way to reduce harmful spraying.”
Josh Harkinson; The Audacity of Soap; Mother Jones (San Francisco); Jan/Feb 2014.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. -Henry Adams, historian and teacher (16 Feb 1838-1918)

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