86th Annual Scholarship Drive

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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.


Definition: “cold-blooded vertebrates such as frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders whose larvae are typically aquatic and breathe with gills, while the adults are semi-terrestrial and breathe with lungs and their moist, glandular skin.”  

Origin/Derivation: From the Greek stem amphi- meaning “of both kinds” and the Greek root bios meaning “life.”  Commonly refers to the fact that the young survive in water while the adults can thrive in either water or on land. 

Related Words/Phrases: ambidextrous, ambience, ambiguous, ambitious, ambulance, amphitheater (fully enclosed - unlike a theater, which is shaped like a semicircle); biology, biography, symbiotic, etc.

The Roman Colosseum (a.k.a. The Flavian Amphitheatre)

(All information is from www.wikipedia.org, www.etymonline.com and/or www.dictionary.com)

Vehicles can also be “amphibious” if they can travel both by sea and by land.

“Old Saw” of the Week:
See if you can “complete the phrase” of this time-worn (but true!) adage:

“To err is human…

to forgive, divine.”

Caption: Quote by Alexander Pope (pictured) - English poet, translator and satirist (1688-1744)