Tag Archives: etymology

Beyond Word Up….

I received this question:

I have a few of questions about Beyond Word Up:

Is it in the same format as Word Up?

How many lessons are there?

Since it’s not a live class, do you have to sign up for a year or just a couple months?

Here is my reply:

No. Unfortunately, it is not the same format as Word Up.  I wish it were.  Word Up was a lot of fun to create.  

The classes on my site are screen casts.  They’re not all that exciting.  Basically, the students simply see the word I am talking about on the screen in front of them.  Each class adds about 20 new words.  In this respect, the material is the same as Word Up, but the delivery is quite different.

There are 24 lessons.  This means that students would learn the history of and the etymology of about 500 words.

And, yes. I have set my site up in such a way that you can subscribe and cancel at anytime.


Verbiculture: the production of words. 

Yep.  It’s really a word.

From Latin verbum (word) and the Latin verb colo, colere, colui, cultus: to live in, inhabit; till, cultivate, promote growth.

Verbiculture, which shows up in almost no dictionaries, was coined in 1873 by Coined by Fitzedward Hall, in “Modern English.  Mr. Hall was one of the early collaborators in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 

Ironically, verbiculture, meaning, the production of words, has not caught on.

Men ever had, and ever will have leave,

To coin new words well suited to the age,

Words are like leaves, some wither every year,

And every year a younger race succeeds.

-Horace, Roman poet (65 BC)


Cognoscente: Someone possessing superior knowledge in a particular field, usually the arts; a connoisseur, an aficionado, a discerning expert. 

I get the feeling a “cognoscente” is likely a member of the Illuminati of the art world.  Or, based on modern art purchases, perhaps the “cognoscente” is simply a gullible person with a large checking account.

Cognoscente derives from its now obsolete Italian twin: cognoscente (now conoscente).  Naturally, the Italian word comes from the Latin verb cognosco (I know). 

The Latin cognosco comes from the Latin preposition con (with) and the Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) meaning, “I know.”


Connoisseur: A person well versed in any subject; a skillful or knowing person; a critical judge or master of any art, particularly of painting and sculpture.

From French connaisseur.  The French word derives from the verb connoître (acquainted, to know).  Father of the modern French verb is the Old French verb conoistre, itself from Latin cognosco (I know). 

Cognosco comes from the Latin word con (with) and the Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) meaning, I know.


Cognizance: having knowledge of something. 

When you possess cognizance, you possess knowledge. 

As G. I. Joe says, “Cognizance is half the battle.”  Or, something like that.

Cognizance can also mean perception, awareness, the ability to notice things. 

Cognizance ultimately comes from the Latin word con (with) and the Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) meaning, I know.  Naturally, the word took a while to show up in English.  First it travelled through French, where is was conoissance (knowledge, wisdom).