Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black: Dictionary of Words Derived from the Latin

An Etymological and Explanatory Dictionary of Words Derived from the Latin by Richard Harrison Black (1825)

This is a discursive exploration of English words derived from Latin roots. The book is arranged alphabetically by the Latin words, but the focus is on the English vocabulary. Here is a typical entry:

De-fer, defero (see FERO, p. 13.) I carry from. To delay, is imply not to commence action; to defer and postpone, are to fix its commencement at a more distant period. - Deference is from defero in the sense of to bear down and, with us, marks the inclination to agree to the sentiments of another in preference to our own. Complaisance is the act of an equal; deference, that of an inferior; condescension, that of a superior. Complaisance has most of genuine kindness in its nature; deference, most of respectful submission; condescension, most of easy indulgence.

As you can see, the book is an interesting one to browse through, especially for its attentiveness to the range of meaning and organization of the English vocabulary.


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