Sunday, September 9, 2007

Opulent Words: Thesaurus

In my recent studies of ancient Greek, I have found many enlightening words, phrases, and terms borrowed from Greek that we use in English today.

The enlightenment happens when one reads a word in Greek, sees its meaning, then learns of the application in English. This gives the English word a new dimension that far surpasses previous understanding.

Just one such word is the English word 'thesaurus.'

Why is this word so stinking cool? I am glad that you asked!

This word comes from the Greek word 'θησαυρος'. Transliterated that is pronounced "thay-sore-oss." Or, more closely 'thesaurus.'

What it means is cool, though. It means "treasure."

A modern thesaurus is not a desk reference, but a "treasury of words."

How much more poetic can it get? How cool is that?!

It makes one begin to look at the English language and inquire: what else in American language and culture borrows itself from ancient cultures AND has much more significance than we give it?

Oh so much! The more I study Greek, the more I find.

Another example is the English word "eccentric." It can be traced to a compound word "εκσευτρικ" (my best guess; I don't have my reference in front of me), which broken down is 'εκ-' meaning "from, away from" and '-σευτρικ' (pronounced "centric") which means "center."

"Off centered." How funny is that?!

Other words of interest (and there are so many):
  • epigraph
  • parabola
  • diameter
  • galactic (word for milk in Greek; think Milky Way!)
  • philosophy (love + wisdom; the love of wisdom)
  • philanthropy (love + man; the love of man)
  • and on!
The word "patriot" takes on new meaning; "of the fathers." A patriot can be translated as one who defends a country or nation's existence according to the founding fathers/ancestors' original intents!

(For example, learn why we are not and do not want to be a democracy, but are a republic! Words are VERY powerful.)

I could go on, and would love to share more as I learn more. I DO encourage anyone interested pick up the most powerful educational tool on Greek here. Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day

Learning other languages opens a "thesaurus" of words that can open the world around so much more. Take the time to understand the words you use. Expand your understanding of the world you live in.

Learn Greek!

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