CLAS224 Word Elements. Monmouth College Monmouth, Illinois
Instructor: Thomas J. Sienkewicz (

Table of Contents (click to go):
Ayers, Lesson III (Pp. 182-183)
Additional Material from Ayers, Lesson XVIII (pp. 250-253)
Additional Material from Ayers, Lesson XIX (pp. 255-256)

Ayers, Lesson III (Pp. 182-183)

The following English words are borrowed from Greek without prefixes or suffixes.
austere: stern and cold in appearance or manner
canon: an accepted principle or rule
crypt: a chamber completely or partly underground
despot: a ruler with absolute power and authority
icon: image
myriads: great numbers
nomad: individual who wanders aimlessly
orgy: occasion characterized by lack of control and moderation
tomes: large books, volumes that are part of larger works
zephyr: a gentle breeze

Back to Top

Additional Material from Ayers, Lesson XVIII (pp. 250-253)

The following English words are derived from Greek bases not otherwise seen in Ayers.
catastrophe: a great and sudden calamity; disaster
elegiac: pertaining to an elegy; expressing sorrow, mournful
catharsis: purgation, especially for the digestive system
onomatopoeic: the formation or use of words such as "buzzer" "cuckoo," that imitate what they denote.
panegyric: a formal eulogistic composition intended as a public complement
prosaic: matter of fact; straight forward
parable: a simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson
prosody: the study of metrical structure of verse

ascetic: a person who renounces the comforts of society and leads a life of austere self discipline, especially as an act of devotion
bucolic: of or characteristic of shepherds or flocks
pastoral: of or relating to the country or country life-rural
idyllic: having a natural charm and picturesqueness
cataclysmic: of or relating to a sudden upheaval or disaster
cynosure: an object that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration
didactic: intended to instruct
hedonism: pursuit or devotion to pleasure
idiosyncrasy: a physiological or temperamental peculiarity
peripatetic: of or related to walking
polemic: a controversy or argument especially one that is a refutation of or an attack on a specified opinion or doctrine

adamant: a legendary stone believed to be impenetrable; an extremely hard substance.
aphorism: a brief statement of a principle; a terse phrased statement of a truth or opinion.
axiom: a self-evident or universally recognized truth; maxim.
deleterious: having a harmful effect: injurious.
diatribe: a bitter and abusive criticism or denunciation.
empirical: relying upon or derived from observation or experiment.
epoch: a particular period of history especially one considered remarkable or noteworthy.
esoteric: intended for or understood by only a particular group
exoteric: not confined to an inner circle or disciples or initiates
ethereal: characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; intangible
lethargy: sluggish indifference; apathy

anodyne: able to soothe or relieve the pain
paroxysm: a sudden outburst of emotion of action
pragmatic: concerned with causes and effects or with needs and results rather than with ideas or theories
sardonic: scornfully mocking or derisive
sycophant: a person who attempts to win favor or advance himself by flattering persons of influence

Back to the Top

Additional Material from Ayers, Lesson XIX (pp. 255-256)

The following are Greek loan words.
acme: the point of utmost attainment; peak
aroma: a pleasant, characteristic odor, as of a plant, spice, or food
aura: an invisible breath or emanation
bathos: a ludicrously abrupt transition from an elevated to a commonplace style
colossus: a huge statue
cosmos: an orderly harmonious systematic universe order, harmony
criterion: 1.) a characterizing mark or trait 2.) a standard on which a judgement or decision may be based
emporium: 1.) a place of trade; a commercial center; 2.) a store carrying a diversity of merchandise
encomium: glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise
enigma: 1.) An obscure speech or writing 2.) Something hard to understand or explain
an immeasurably or indefinitely long period of time
hoi polloi: the general populace; masses
iota: 1.) the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet 2.) an infinitesimal amount
lexicon: a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions; a dictionary
miasma: a vaporous exhalation formerly believed to cause disease; a heavy vaporous emanation or atmosphere
nostalgia: 1.) longing to go back to one's home, hometown, or homeland; homesickness; 2.) a longing for something far away or long ago or for former happy circumstances
panacea: a supposed remedy, cure, or medicine for all diseases or illnesses; cure all
pathos: 1.) suffering; 2.) the quality in something experienced or observed which arouses feelings of pity, sorrow, sympathy or compassion.
phalanx: 1.) ancient military formation of infantry in close and deep ranks with shields joined together and spears overlapping; 2.) massed group of individuals; compact body
phenomena: any fact, circumstance or experience that is apparent to the senses and that can be scientifically described or appraised, as an eclipse
plethora: state of being too full; over abundance; excess
prolegomenon: preliminary remark
stigma: mark or sign indicating that something is not considered normal or standard
thesaurus: a book containing a store of words; book of antonyms and synonyms
trauma: bodily injury, shock or painful experience

Back to the Top

Return to Monmouth College Classics Dept. Home Page