In our work on English word origins, this past week we’ve learned three new Latin root words that give rise to numerous English vocabulary words: sent and its variant sens which mean ‘feel,’ and the root fin, which means ‘end.’ A sensible route to take when learning new English morphemes is to confine them within your working and long-term memory, so here is a final review of these seminal root words to help you easily learn English vocabulary. Some of the words I’ll reinforce in this English vocabulary word roots blog or web log will be sense, sensation, sensitive, sentimental, assent, dissent, infinity, definition, indefinite, fine, finite, and finicky.
Sent → Feel
sample words: sense, sensation, sensitive, sentimental, assent, dissent
It would make sense to know the Latin word root sent: “feel” and its variant sent because they are an important part of the makeup of many English vocabulary words. When you make sense of something, it ‘feels’ right. A sensation is a ‘feeling’ that you get; something sensational can cause heightened ‘feelings’ in people, especially in those who are sensitive, or highly susceptible to their ‘feelings.’ People who are sensitive tend to be sentimental, or prone to nostalgically reminiscing about past times. When you assent to something, you send your ‘feelings’ towards it, thereby agreeing to it. An antonym to assent is dissent, or sending your ‘feelings’ away from another opinion, thus disagreeing with it. I hope you now ‘feel’ that you have permanently ‘sent’ sent into your vocabulary sense!
Fin → End
sample words: infinity, definition, indefinite, fine, finite, finicky
We also learned the Latin root word fin: “end” this past week. Imagine that your finicky math teacher wants you to look up the definition of the fine word infinity, thereby putting it into a finite, not indefinite, semantic box. Let’s unravel this superfine statement. First of all, infinity is of such vast size that it has no ‘end,’ however difficult that may be to conceptualize. However, your finicky math teacher’s ‘boundaries’ are ironically a little too fine; because he is so difficult to please, there seems to be no ‘end’ to his demands. Due to this finicky proclivity, he wants none of his students to have an indefinite or open-‘ended’ view about the definition of infinity. As an abstract mathematical concept infinity may be incomprehensible, but the dictionary does give its definition, that is, an ‘end’ or a ‘boundary’ for the meaning of the word, however inadequate that may seem. After having put the infinite within this finite (quality of having an ‘end’) box, he declares that you have all done a fine job, having brought the assignment to a successful and complete ‘end.’
Questions of the week (to be answered next week)
- What does the word “financial” have to do with an “end”?
- Why does a judge’s “sentence” come from the Latin word root sent?