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A.Word.A.Daywith 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 Legos 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 steno- (small), ment- (mind), eury- (wide), exo- (outside), caco- (bad).
MEANING:adjective: Able to adapt only to a small range of environmental conditions.
ETYMOLOGY:From Greek steno- (narrow, small) + topos (place). Opposite is eurytopic.
USAGE:"Like any gathering of aged immigrants, this was one helluva stenotopic congregation."
Haim Chertok; Beating Blindness, and Bureaucracy, in Beersheba; The Jerusalem Post (Israel); Feb 9, 1996.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth. -Bonnie Friedman, author (b. 1958)
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