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May 30, 2011
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
logorrhea
necrology
phycology
hagiocracy
paleography

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Is there a word to describe .....? I'm often asked this question. Readers need a word for a particular idea, action, belief, or occurrence, and often it turns out the language doesn't have a ready-made word for it. But that's no cause for despair.

If there's no word available, chances are you can find components to build your own: affixes (prefixes and suffixes), other existing words, and combining forms.

What are combining forms? You can think of them as the Lego (from Danish, leg: play + godt: well) bricks of language. As the name 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, an affix can't attach to another affix).

This week we'll feature five words that use the combining forms logo- (word), necro- (dead), hetero- (different), phyco- (seaweed), hagi- (holy), paleo- (old, ancient), -rrhea (flow), -logy (account, study), -cracy (rule), and -graphy (writing).

logorrhea

PRONUNCIATION:
(log-uh-REE-uh)

MEANING:
noun: Excessive flow of words, especially when incoherent.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek logo- (word) + -rrhea (flow), from rhoia (flow). Also see rhinorrhea. Earliest documented use: 1902.

USAGE:
"Dumas suffers from logorrhea, induced by the simple formula that the more he wrote, the more money he made."
Erik Spanberg; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Massachusetts); Feb 6, 2011.

See more usage examples of logorrhea in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

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