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.  

Delta - “a nearly flat plain of alluvial deposit between diverging branches of the mouth of a river; often, though not necessarily, triangular.”  From the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (equivalent to our letter D), which was shaped like a triangle.  Apparently coined by Herodotus in reference to the delta-shaped mouth of the Nile River.  Also used as a symbol in the field of Mathematics to indicate “an incremental change in a variable” (all information is from, and/or

RELATED WORDS/PHRASES – deltoid (a large, triangular-shaped muscle of the shoulder)

SAMPLE SENTENCE - “One of the earliest-known styles of blues music is called ‘Delta blues’ because it originated in the Mississippi Delta area; its hallmarks are harmonica and slide guitar.”  

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE: “Hope is a good thing - maybe the best of things - and no good thing ever dies.”  Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.  The film is based on the short story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” which is contained in the Stephen King novella Four Seasons.  This novella also contains the short story “The Body,” which was made into the motion picture Stand by Me.