Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here then is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  

Prehensile - “adapted for grasping, seizing, or taking hold of something.”  From the Latin verb prehendere, prehensus meaning “to grab, grasp, seize” and ultimately from the Latin preposition prae meaning “before” and the Latin verb hendere meaning “to seize, take.”  (All information is from, and/or

RELATED WORDS/PHRASES – apprehend, comprehend, comprehensive, reprehensible, apprentice, enterprise, entrepreneur, impresario, reprieve, reprisal, surprise

SAMPLE SENTENCE: “You probably know from watching Nature shows that many monkeys have prehensile tails, but did you know that giraffes have prehensile tongues (if you’ve ever fed them lettuce at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, you almost certainly do!)?”