We were singing a praise chorus in church, when a word leaped out and grabbed my heart.
I knew ex- is a Latin root meaning “out, up.” I knew altus is Latin for “high.” It makes sense to lift Jesus up in a praise song, right?
But what I didn’t know is that when I looked up the etymology of EXALT, my trusty Webster’s New World College Dictionary would tell me to “see OLD.” Of course, I did! I always do. That’s how I sometimes get lost in the dictionary when I look up a word.
OLD (coming to English through Old English/Anglian), comes from the Indo-European base al- “to grow.” Latin’s verb alere means “to nourish.” The basic sense of the word in its Latin adjective form (altus) is “grown.”
Hey, now I want to be OLD! Now OLD carries a sense of maturity and strong, deep roots rather than a sense of diminishing or withering away. Bring it on!
(But not for a while, please.)
WORD NERD CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: List as many words with alt- as you can. (Nope, ALTER doesn’t count. Look it up, as my Mom used to say.) Ready, set, go…
- Word Nerd Wednesday (on a Thursday)…Thanks and Gratitude (vonildawrites.wordpress.com)
- Word Nerd Wednesday: More of the Same (vonildawrites.wordpress.com)
- Word Nerd Wednesday: (on a Thursday): Icons and Images (vonildawrites.wordpress.com)