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gether may give the thought of speaking together, or of having the same mind concerning some cause of action, thus it may mean to unite for a purpose. It has come to mean to unite for an evil purpose, to plot against authority. Conspire, conspiracy, conspirator give us the underlying idea of plotting against another.

Expire, means to breathe out; to die is a secondary meaning. Expiration is a breathing out, the end, the termination. Expiratory means pertaining to the expiration of air from the lungs.

Inspire is to breathe in. From this comes the meaning to infuse or convey into the mind by a higher power. The noun inspiration has the two meanings, a breathing in and a higher or divine influence. Inspirer has only the latter idea, one who inspires others to nobler thoughts or aspirations. Inspiratory pertains to breathing only.

Perspire means to breathe through, to sweat. The latter is the only present meaning of the word; but this meaning comes from the idea of breathing through, and thus it comes to mean to send the fluids of the body through the pores of the skin.

Respire, to breathe again, has kept its original meaning; so respiration, the act of breathing, and respirator, an instrument through which persons of weak lungs can breathe; respirable, fit to breathe, and respirator, serving for respiration, have held the original meaning of the root.

Suspire, to breathe under, to breathe out from under, to sigh; suspiration, the act of sighing, a sigh; suspiral, a breathing-hole, have kept pretty close to the meaning of the root and the prefix.

From the study of the changes in the meaning of such a word as aspire, which has changed from to breathe to into to earnestly desire something better than we have; and from inspire, which is changed from to breathe in into to receive influence from the divine, it is seen how easily the language uses its words to express the highest thoughts.

The idea in aspire was to breathe up to the Creator; in inspire, to have Him breathe His life into one, and so tune one to highest thoughts and highest deeds.

The changes in the meaning of this word inspire show how words can come to have a higher than the original meaning.

Such a word as egregious, which means chosen from or out of the flock, and formerly meant excellent, shows us that the meanings of words can deteriorate. It is used now in a bad sense only.

The root of a word, as we have seen, is the simplest form to which endings or prefixes may be added. Stems are roots slightly modified.

Most derivatives formed from Latin stems and prefixes are either nouns, verbs or adjectives.

We give below a few Latin verb stems frequently used in the formation of English words, and also one English word derived for each stem.

The thoughtful student will be surprised to learn how large a number of English words contain these stems. Find as many of them as you can.

We give the verb forms from the Latin as found in the Century Dictionary.

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There are many other Latin stems from which English words are derived, and the study of these words, how they are made, how changed both in form and in meaning, is most interesting and profitable.

Besides the Latin there are many Greek stems and prefixes which yield a large number of words.

Of the prefixes many have the form and meaning of the Latin, as anti, ex, pro, di, dis.

Of the purely Greek prefixes, auto is much used; it means self as seen in the following words: Autobiography, automobile, automaton, autograph.

The Greek stem, graph, meaning write, we find in photograph, telegraph, geography, and graphophone. Try to find other words from this stem.

The Greek stem, log, meaning word, is found in catalog, dialog, geology, and in many other words which you will readily recognize.


Try to think of words ending in ship, as friendship; in ling, as duckling; ful, as beautiful; less, as fearless ; ly, as manly; in some, as gladsome; in ish, as boyish; in er or or, as flier, actor; and in ent or ant, as student, assistant. When you have thought of several words. formed with each suffix, think what the suffix means.

It is easy to find the force of a suffix by using it in several words. Thus, ness in goodness, freshness, fineness, greatness, means the state or quality of the adjective to which it is suffixed. In the ly that forms so many adverbs we have the word like worn down by much use to ly cleverly is cleverlike; goodly is goodlike.

Some of these suffixes are old Saxon inflections that have been kept; as the en in oxen and in children is an old plural.

The th in truth, strength, wealth, is an old inflection. In such words as wisdom, freedom, the dom is an old Saxon word meaning judgment, so these words are old compounds.

Use each of the above suffixes in at least two sentences. The suffixes here used are only a few of the many that are found in the language.

Make lists of prefixes and of suffixes as you find them in new words.

In consulting the dictionary, form the habit of studying the derivation of words. In this way you will soon come to recognize the stems, the prefixes, and suffixes, derived from the different languages.

Make lists of words using the stems and the prefixes already given.

When you have made all the words you can from any one stem, write ten sentences using one or more of the words in each sentence.



1. Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.

2. If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

3. A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit goodnatured. It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity; and render deformity itself agreeable.

4. Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. If we retrench the wages of the schoolmaster, we must raise those of the recruiting sergeant.

5. Men of the noblest dispositions think themselves happiest when others share their happiness with them.

6. Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

7. That man is worthless who knows how to receive a favor, but not how to return one.

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