Welcome to our 19th video on word roots illustrated.
In this video we are going to cover the Latin and Greek roots starting with AC all of which
lend the meaning sharp or tip or bitter to various interesting words in English which
can be learnt effectively using this root connection… Let’s begin…
Our initial 4 words contain the greek root akron which means tip or summit, i.e. the
highest point of a hill or mountain Acrobat is one of the most common words based
on this root. Made up of roots akron meaning tip and bainein
meaning to walk the word acrobat literally referred to someone who walks on tip-toe such
as a tight-rope walker. Now-a-days acrobat popularly stands for any entertainer who performs
spectacular gymnastic feats. Next is acrophobia. Now since akron means
summit or tip and phobia means fear; acrophobia means an extreme or abnormal fear of heights;
especially when one is not particularly high up.
Acrophobia is a pathological condition where one experiences falling sensations and symptoms
such as breathlessness and loss of thinking ability when they are at a height.
Next word is acropolis. Again, acro means summit or top of a hill and polis means city
so acropolis literally means a city on top of a hill. The word Acropolis originally referred
to the ancient citadel at Athens, containing the Parthenon and other notable buildings,
mostly dating from the 5th century BC. Nowadays the word acropolis can mean the upper
fortified part of any ancient Greek city (as Athens) or even any city or district elsewhere
(as in Central America) One of the most interesting words based on
this root is acronym. Acronym is formed out of tip and name and is basically formed when
you pick the tip or the first letters of each word that comprise a long name.
With an expression as simple as oh my God (OMG) to names of telephone services such
as sms which stands for short messaging service to name of international organizations such
as imf (which stands for international monetary fund) and corporations such as kfc (Kentucky
fried chicken) and hp and even names of processes such as B2B and names of diseases such as
AIDS…. You will find acronyms everywhere… i.e.
to say they are all pervasive check out the acronyms in the following sentence: A company
such as hp which is an acronym of Hewlett Packard engages in B2B (an acronym for business
to business) marketing to sell its products such as printers.
With a slight variation of the word root; any word that starts with ac or acu will have
the meaning of sharp like the tip of something.. For instance we have the word acme which is
very common in english and means the tip or peak of a mountain. THE WORD figuratively
stands for the highest level of something, the point at which something is at its best
or most highly developed. An example sentence would be: he was at the acme of his sporting
career when the unfortunate accident happened and he lost his leg.
similarly, WE have the word acupuncture.. Acu means sharp as a needle is and acupuncture
literally means to puncture with a needle. The word stands for a system of complementary
medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along what
are considered to be lines of energy, used in the treatment of various physical and mental
conditions. Another Important word based on the root acu
is acute. something that is Acute is sharp, keen or severe . The word is generally used
for an unpleasant or unwelcome situation or phenomenon) present or experienced to a severe
or intense degree. For instance: In summer months, the desert areas face an acute1 or
severe scarcity of water and the inhabitants of such regions have to walk for miles to
arrange potable water. Though the word could also be used for a sharp
insight or perception, for instance: Those in the new-age industries such as IT should
have an acute2 awareness of the changing trends in order to have a viable career.
Next word is acuity… If we are talking about the sharpness or keenness of thought, vision
or hearing the appropriate word to use would be acuity. Similarly, we use the word acumen
if we are talking about the sharpness of judgement and the ability to make good decisions.. An
example sentence for usage of both words would be:
At work, people marvelled at his intellectual acuity -as he could remember even the most
intricate details- and envied his business acumen because of which the company had grown
leaps and bounds under his leadership. Again, let’s introduce a change in the word
stem to acr… the meaning of this root is also sharp but in the sense of harsh and bitter….One
of the most common words starting with this prefix is Acrid. The word is generally used
for a taste or smell that is very sharp, pungent or harsh, like acid. For instance: While the
building caught fire and burned down in no time, the acrid smell of smoke lingered on
for hours. Acrid can also be used more broadly to describe
something that is offensive in a similar way. You can say that someone who has is very harsh
on others has a acrid personality, and even a comment that stung like acid could be called
acrid. A similar word is Acerbic which means bitter,
sour, or severe; though in a different context. Acerbic could be used for someone’s style
of speaking or writing i.e. sharp and forthright and literally tastes sour or bitter.
In English there is another word acerb which is practically synonymous with acerbic in
this sense, i.e. tasting sour or bitter though the word acerbic is less commonly used in
this meaning now-a-days. Coming to the main meaning, consider a boss
making the following statement for his subordinate: I could very well pay a donkey and extract
better work out of it! Such a statement is very acerbic and the obvious
reaction from the employee was that he was disheartened when his hard work got dismissed
by his boss. And while bitterness of taste is aptly described
by acerb; a bitterness of feelings is described by the adjective acrimonious. Acrimonious
means full of spite or ill-feeling, bitter, nasty and is generally used to describe something
like a speech or an argument. The related noun is acrimony.
An example sentence would be: The divorce settlement meeting ended with acrimony on
both sides. During the meeting, the estranged couple argued acrimoniously about the child
custody and the division of property. The next word derived from this root acer
is Exacerbate. Made up of the prefix ex which –in one of its meanings expresses inducement
of a state- and acerbus meaning harsh or bitter ; the word literally means made harsh.
To put it in a simple way: if something is already bad and it becomes worse we use the
word exacerbate. The word exacerbate means: to make (a problem, bad situation, or even
a negative feeling) worse. For example: Exposure to pollens exacerbated her allergy and induced
continuous sneezing. So much for the word stem ac… and now on
a ending note we have the word root oxy which shares the same meaning of sharp with the
previous roots. And while we have the common ones like oxygen
which are based on this root; one word that I think every English lover should know is
Oxymoron. Well oxy means sharp and moron means foolish…
so oxymoron literally means sharp as well as foolish… contradictory, isn’t it…
So oxymoron is a figure of speech in which we use contradictory words together and you
must have figured out by now that the word oxymoron itself is an oxymoron.
Some common oxymorons that deserve a mention here… her life was an open secret. He was
clearly confused… those children were found missing after school. She obtained an original
copy of that branded purse from the flea market. A seasoned actor acts naturally. There was
a deafening silence in that room. My take on oxymorons is that they are seriously
funny. And our last word is Paroxysm.. Literal meaning
is beyond sharpen or goad… and if one gets goaded or irritated too much one can expect
a sudden outburst which is what this word means. In medical terminology paroxysm stands
for a sudden attack or increase of symptoms of a disease (such as pain, coughing, shaking,
etc.) that often occurs again and again. But in a broader sense, the word paroxysm
could be used for any sudden attack or outburst of a particular emotion or activity
Such as paroxysm of rage, or for example this sentence: The joke was so hilarious that he
burst into a paroxysm of laughter. Now test your understanding of the words learnt
in this lesson by filling the blank below… (Recommended that you pause the video when
timer starts) That brings us to the end of this video, hope
you like it… Subscribe our channel and Stay tuned for more such videos… Thank you.