Notes for Lessons
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a) Notes on Forms
b) Notes on Meanings
All the suffixes in lessons 31-33 are NOUN FORMING.
In Lesson 31 there are two suffixes that play
similar roles and have identical definitions:
-ity (quality of, state of)
-itude (quality of, state of)
These two suffixes are de-adjectival, that is, they
take adjectival (descriptive) concepts and turn
them into nouns:
BREV (short) + ity = BREVITY (the quality of being short)
FUSC (dark) + itude = FUSCITUDE (the quality of being
There is a native English suffix which performs exactly the same
function, namely "-ness". You can interpret many words using
-ity and -itude by substituting -ness for the suffix:
BREVITY = short-ness
FUSCITUDE = dark-ness
This doesn't work with every example of these suffixes, however.
Consider the famous words:
These words should mean (and occasionally do still mean) "heavi-ness",
"long-ness" (length), and "wide-ness" (width), but their most common
meanings have developed into something new.
The rest of the suffixes in 31 and 32 are DEVERBATIVE: they
take verbal ideas and turn them into nouns. Hence their
definitions often involve the word "act" (the act of, the result of
the act of, etc.). These suffixes include some of the most popular
ones, such as
Which occurs in thousands of words, such as:
SECT-ion (result of the act of cutting)
con-CUSS-ion (result of the act of a thorough shaking)
in-CIS-ion (act or result of the act of cutting into)
Very frequently, however, this suffix appears in combination with
the verb-forming suffix "-ate" or "-ite"; when it does so the "e"
the first suffix disappears, leaving you with something that might be
difficult to recognize at first glance:
Learn to recognize "-ation" and "-ition" as a combination of these
Another very popular deverbative suffix is "-ure", meaning "act of"
or "result of the act of":
PUNCT-ure: result of the act of piercing
JUNCT-ure: act of, or result of joining
RUPT-ure: act of, or result of the act of breaking
The deverbative suffix "-or" appears in both lessons 31 and 32,
first time as an agent suffix, with the specialized meaning "one who"
or "that which"; then as a more general deverbative meaning "state of"
or "result of the act of". You will have to be prepared for either
TRACT-or: that which drags
MOT-or: that which moves
in-CIS-or: that which cuts into
RIG-or: the state of being stiff
PALL-or: the state of being pale
VAL-or: the state of being strong
TUM-or: that which swells? or the result of the act of
In Lesson 33 you are given a large set of suffixes all of which
mean "result of" or "means of" or (sometimes) "place for". Carefully
note which forms occur in the middles of words (-cul-, -min-, etc),
and which at the ends (-cle, -culum, -bula, etc.). As with the
diminutive suffixes, be prepeared for alternation between different
forms in different derivatives:
SPECT-acle: means of looking
SPECT-acul-ar: pertaining to seeing or a sight
Also, like the diminutives, suffixes ending in -um or -a will
lose that ending when followed by other elements:
inFUND-ibulum: a funnel (means of pouring in)
inFUND-ibul-ar: pertaining to the preceding...
Finally in Lesson 34, you see the only verb-forming suffixes in the
Latin part of the course. Of these, two (-igate and -esce) are
comparitively rare. Here are some examples of both:
FUM-igate: to treat with fumes or smoke
VARI-egate: to make varied
NAV-igate: to drive (pilot) a ship
LIQU-esce: to become liquid
efFERV-esce: to begin to boil or bubble
The third verb-forming suffix, -fy, is extremely common and
productive. As the small print in the book says, it is
actually a form of the verbal base FIC- (to make, to do), and this
is important to remember in understanding the variation in
LIQUe-fy: to make liquid
LIQUe-FACT-ion: the act of making liquid
VITRi-fy: to turn to glass
VITRi-FIC-ation: the act of turning to glass
a) Notes on Forms:
Watch out for the following bases, which can sometimes appear to
be almost swallowed up by other elements:
FA- (to speak):
INFANT (in-FA-(a)nt): orignially "one who
does not speak"
INEFFABLE (in-ef-FA-(a)ble): "incapable of
being expressed (spoken out)"
I(T) (to go):
TRANSIENT (trans-I-ent): "passing through,
temporary" (compare transITion)
AMBIENT (amb-I-ent): "going around,
STA(T) (to STAND)
DISTANT (di-STA-(a)nt): "standing apart"
related to this word is a very common
word in anatomy:
DISTAL (di-STA-(a)l): "standing apart,
or located farthest from the
mid-line of the body or the
point of attachment of a limb"
("distal" is the opposite of "proximal" in
anatomy. Your hand is at the "distal" end of
your arm. Your shoulder is at the proximal
From distal you also get a series of words
in which the STA- base is even harder to
DISTOLABIAL (di-ST(a)-o-LABI-al): pertaining to
the distal and labial surfaces (of teeth)
DISTODORSAD (di-ST(a)-o-DORS-ad): running
toward the back and distal portion of the
b) NOTES ON MEANINGS:
CERVIC- (neck): can refer to the neck that holds your head up,
but just as often refers to the "cervix", i.e. the "neck"
of the uterus:
CERVICAL vertebrae: vertebrae of the neck
CERVICAL cancer: cancer of the cervix
Recall the same double-meaning for the Greek base
INCUD- (anvil): almost always refers not to any old anvil, but to
the "anvil bone" which is one of the auditory ossicles (one
of the small bones within the ear. The three auditory
ossicles are the
INCUD-ECTOMY (surgical removal of the incus)
MALLE- (hammer): also often refers to the auditory ossicle:
MALLECTOMY (surgical removal of the malleus)
but can also refer to actual hammers or hammering:
MALLEABLE (capable of being shaped (by
LUTE- (yellow, "corpus luteum")
This base can mean simply "yellow" as in
LUTEoFUSCous: having a dark-yellow colour
LUTE-in: a chemical that produces yellow
But far more frequently refers to the "corpus luteum".
"corpus luteum" means "yellow body" in Latin, and refers to
a mass of yellowish tissue that forms in the ovary after
ovulation. The corpus luteum forms at
the site where the ovary follicle bursts releasing the
ovum. Upon formation it begins to secrete the hormone
progesterone, which helps the body get ready for
LUTEINIZATION is the formation of the corpus
the LUTEAL PHASE of pregnancy is the phase
initiated by the formation of the
a LUTEOMA is a tumour composed of tissue
similar to that of the corpus
c) LOOK ALIKES:
PAT- to lie open (PAT-ent: obvious), vs.
PATI- to suffer (PATI-ent: enduring, or one who suffers), vs.
PAR- equal (PAR-ity: equality), vs.
PAR-, PART- to give birth (primiPARa: one who has given birth for the
first time, post PARTum: after childbirth), vs.
PART- part, to divide (PART-ition: result of the act of dividing), vs.
PARIET- wall (PARIET-al: pertaining to or serving as a wall)
CRET-, CRE(SC)- to grow (con-CRETe, ac-CRET-ion), vs.
CRET-, CERN- to separate, distinguish secrete (se-CRETe,
LAT- to carry (re-LAT-ive, col-LATe)
LAT- wide (LAT-itude, LAT-i-ROSTR-al)
LEV- left (hand): (LEVoDUCT-ion: a tendency to be drawn toward
the left; ambi-LEV-ous: the opposite of ambi-DEXTR-ous), vs.
LEV- light (in weight) (LEV-ity: lightness, frivolity)
FERR- iron (FERR-ous), vs.
FER- to carry (af-FER-ent)
CALCAR- bone spur (CALCAR-ectomy), vs.
CALC- pebble, limestone (CALCACEOUS, CALCULUS), vs.
CALC(ANE)- heel (CALCANEus)
CLAV-club (CLAVI-form: club-shaped; CLAVi-CORN: having club-shaped
CLAV- key, collarbone (conCLAVe: a closed meeting; CLAV-icle: the
collarbone; subCLAVian: located beneath the collar-
ILE- ileum (portion of the small intestine: ILE-itis)
ILI- hip (ILI-o-COSTal: pertaining to the hips and the ribs)
CAN-, CAND- white, gray (CAN-esc-ent: becoming gray), vs.
CAN- dog (CANIPHOBIA, CANIFORM)
FRUTIC- shrub (FRUTICICOLOUS: dwelling in shrubs; FRUTICOSE: shrubby)
FRUCT- fruit (FRUCTIVOROUS: eating fruit; FRUCTOSE: fruit sugar)