All words are made up, right? The science of etymology shows us the origin of words, the way in which their meanings have changed, and the historical development of their meanings.
It’s almost like the chicken and the egg. What came first, the word or its etymology.
If you saw My Big, Fat Greek Wedding you’ll remember the dad frequently commenting about how certain modern words have a Greek origin.
You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word “milo,” which is mean “apple,” so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos, is come from the Greek word “portokali,” which mean “orange.” So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.Gus Portokalos, Nia’s father in My Big, Fat Greek Wedding
I get a daily word definition service on my computer at work which is where I learned the word breviloquent. It’s an adjective meaning marked by brevity of speech. My husband is breviloquent. He is pithy and I say his motto is “give me brevity or give me death.”
About 6 weeks later the word of the day dropped on me was magniloquent. It’s an adjective meaning using high flown or bombastic language. Or magnificent + eloquent = magniloquent. Two fancy words ending with -oquent. There’re a lot more: ambiloquent, doctiloquent, alieniloquent, blandiloquent, sanctiloquent. You really don’t even need to look up the meaning once you’re on to what they’re pulling over on you with the suffix -oquent.
Mendaciloquent: the capacity to speak in a deceitful, but artful and convincing way. Mendacious means lying, false, untrue. Therefore…can you say politician?
On Seinfeld the low talker would have been muffliloquent. What about the close talker? He would have been imminentiloquent. Mr. Feeley, the speedy delivery mailman of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, would have been rapidiloquent.
The pattern is Sesame-Street easy. We can all make words, and not just the Alphabits cereal kind of creations.
It’s fun. We can be content creators and influencers. In the movie School of Rock, Jack Black’s character invented a disease in order to get his class of students into the battle of the band: stick-it-to-da-maneosis that rare blood disease that is hell.
Or what about other suffixes?
-Itis mean inflammation. Iritis, a painful disorder I once had, is the inflammation of the iris. Everyone knows about arthritis and tendinitis.
But, how big is your ego? Do you have hubritis? Crave Mexican food? Yeah, I sometimes get a bad case of tacoitis. Or enchiladitis. If you are inflamed with the urge to give people money to do silly things then you have dollaritis. Does your love for your favorite team cause you to have a green and gold bathroom? You have Packeritis.
-Cide means killing. Homocide kills a human. Pesticide means killing bugs and creepy pests. But what can we kill with words? The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. How about some logocide? Or eloquenticide, the death of beautiful speech. Some people murder love. The commit agapicide or amoricide.
The word muscle is from the Latin musculus meaning mouse because people thought muscles moving under your skin looked how a mouse moves. Ancient people were much more familiar with mice and that makes me grateful for rodenticides which I’m glad aren’t called musclecides.
My favorite ways to make words is with suffixes. If tomfoolery is a word what’s the harm in jackassery or playingthefoolery. Or mix up languages: chooch (Italian slang for jackass) can become choochery as easy as it is to type. Skōlitude: when you’re in the mood to make a toast.
Speaking of -tude, which means the condition of… Finitude means you have limits or bounds, literally the “condition of being finite.” In the 15th century, the Latin word for beauty was pulcher making modern day beauties pulchritudinous. Rolls off the tongue.
WordExample.com has quite a juicy list of words with the suffix -tude. No definition is needed for crackpotitude, asshatitude, dickitude, unkemptitude, plumpitude, cattitude, doggitude, or moral turpitude.
To put my money where my mouth is, I’ve created the following words in honor of my team winning the NBA Championship: bucksinsixitude and antetokounmpophile. Look ’em up! Make some words of your own, but leave your cattitude at the door!