Tag Archives: get smart


I’ve been silent for a few days. Have not posted the word of the day. There is a reason. It’s a good one. I’ve been hiding out. I was nervous. My anatidaephobia had flared up again.

Anatidaephobia derives from the Latin word for duck, anas and the Greek word for fear, φοβία (phobia).



Prognosis: In medicine, the art of foretelling a disease; knowing beforehand the cause of a disease.

We can also use the word prognosis to forecast. When it comes to the weather, for example, it is difficult to make an accurate prognosis.

Prognosis is “pre-knowledge.” The word comes from the Greek prefix προ- (pro), before and γιγνώσκω (gignosko), I know.

I know, right?

The ancient Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) means I know.   From this word, English derives all kinds of brainy words.  Gnostic, agnostic, prognosis, and diagnosis derive from γιγνώσκω. 

To say, “I know,” the Romans would use the Latin word cognosco.  From cognosco, English derives cognition, connoisseur, recognition, and incognito.

This week, we will increase our knowledge of English by looking at the Greek and Latin words behind “knowing”.


Circumlocution: indirect speaking; a roundabout or indirect expression; use of superfluous words to express an idea.

If you are not willing to get right to the point, or if, for some reason, you need to soften the force of direct speech, you might use circumlocution.

Circumlocution comes from the two Latin words, circum (ring, circle, around, about) and loquor (I talk). If you are talking in circles, you are circumlocuting. (I just made that verb up.)


Recycle: to use again, to convert waste into material usable once again.

Recycle comes from the Latin words re (back, again) and the Greek word κύκλος (kuklos), a circle, a wheel.

Incidentally, I have a small public service side business.  I recycle old five dollar bills.  So, if you have any lying around the house, and you have been wondering what to do with them, send them my way. 

Just trying to do my part for the planet.  You are welcome, everyone.