Home » root

Tagroot

Adynaton Origin and Meaning

The word adynaton, which refers to a jocular phrase that emphasizes the idea of impossibility, was adopted into English from Greek, where adynaton means “impossible,” a combination of a- meaning “not” and dynatos, which means...

Xylyl Meaning and Origins

Olivia, a sixth-grader in Somerville, New Jersey, says she and her classmates were flummoxed by a word on their spelling-bee study list: xylyl. It’s a term from chemistry, referring to a group of atoms derived from a liquid called xylene. One...

Origin of the Word “Paraphernalia”

Rachel from Ashland, Virginia, wonders about the origin of paraphernalia, or “items belonging to a particular person or used for a particular activity.” In ancient Greece, the pherna was a bride’s dowry, and the parapherna was her...

What Does “Snaggletooth” Mean?

Max from La Jolla, California, named his beloved rescue dog Snaggletooth. A snaggletooth is “a broken tooth” or “a tooth projects beyond the mouth.” It’s from the same linguistic root as snag, originally “a tree...

Latibulum

The Latin word latibulum means a “refuge or hiding place of animals.” It derives from the same root that gives us the English word latent, meaning “hidden.” A 17th-century dictionary defines the now-rare English word...